Our Valentine’s Day!

This is gonna be a short & sweet (pun totally intended) post filling in the foodie gaps from the last update up to our Valentine’s Day! (I know y’all are probably sick of any and all Valentine’s Day chat by now, so thanks for tuning in anyway!).

Sunday February 10th, we both got up early and went to church. When I came home we were still super low on groceries, so I put together some canned butternut squash puree & a dollop of Fage mixed and heated up with mixed nuts, pumpkin butter and Ezekiel bread. It was surprisingly very satisfying! Ya never can know how those hodge-podge concoctions are gonna go, but it’s often when I discover my new favorite snacks!

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The afternoon was just working on school assignments & I think I squeezed a run in.

For dinner I was really getting down to the bare bones in the fridge- I needed some protein, so I whipped up some eggs, beans, and salsa & paired it with homemade pumpkin hummus that I defrosted from the freezer.

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February 11th I woke myself up with Fage, oatmeal, PB2, and mixed nuts. The thought of breakfast & coffee causes me to jump out of bed in the morning, haha. For this one, basically anything I could find in the cupboard I was throwing into that bowl.

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After doing a ton of schoolwork it was time to finally acquiesce to a full grocery trip. But I will say- TJ’s is the pretty much the adult equivalent of going to the park. On my way I grabbed some Starbucks cause I was feeling chilled to the bone that day! It was one of the colder days of this winter. *Cue the laughs from my midwest friends*

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Aaaaaaand here we are.

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For dinner I defrosted a pack of thanksgiving turkey and made turkey noodle soup for the Deej with some egg noodles I picked up. He enjoyed it even more than I expected! It served as a lunch throughout the week & he usually had it with a slice of lightly warmed buttered brioche.

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I had a salad full of the fresh veggies from TJ’s with hummus, Lightlife’s Savory “chick’n” tenders, and lotsa hummus. I like to cook the chik’n till it’s kinda crispy & it almost serves as a kind of crouton in the salads.

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February 12th I finally found and tried the Banh Mi Bowl recommended by the lovely Kate over at LiveintheNautical. Y’all this stuff is so guuud. I wasn’t as big a fan of the dressing, but the actual bowl itself was just delish & fresh! The tofu in it was sooo hearty & yummy.

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In the evening, I attended School of Leadership. This is a four-week course I’m taking through our Church, and WOW, it’s enlightening. I feel like I’m drinking wisdom from a fire hose. So much knowledge and practical application. I am just loving every second of it & have made some new friends through it. At this point in time there is only one week left- crazy how quickly it flew.

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On February 13th I gathered together all my Valentine’s I was making for Boys and Girls Club and paired them with a chocolate. The Valentine’s were 3D which I thought the third graders would like. After I made the Valentine’s I panicked because I realized the Snickers had nuts in them & I didn’t know if any of the kids had an allergy. I switched out any of the Snickers for another type of chocolate & left those for DJ since their his fave anyway!

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I was craving some of my “chick’n” so I made it with roasted beets, corn, and topped it off with tzatziki sauce from TJ’s (that tzatziki sauce is the bomb! I’ll include it in my FF).

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On February 14th I went to Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon. Holy hyperness… I thought they were sugar filled last week- oh man, you haven’t seen chaos till you’ve seen a third grade classroom on Valentine’s Day! LOL! It was so much fun. I came home to these gorgeous roses from DJ and yummy treats & cards from friends & family. <3 They are the bestt.

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This card was from DJ… he said each one of these dogs represented one of my moods. LOLOL.

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Oh, and this was from a friend at church! Tell me this isn’t the cutest little idea for a Valentine ya ever did see?!

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I made Deej a little box of some of our faves- our favorite candle, his favorite granola, and then made a little note saying “Will You Accept This Rosé?” As a play on the Bachelor. CHEESY, I KNOW!

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For dinner I made him heart shaped grilled cheese on our TJ’s brioche and tomato soup- his favorite weeknight meal. Just when ya didn’t think it could get cheesy-er 😉

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For my dinner I had my stuffed purple sweet potato with Fage, avocado, meatless crumbles, and almond vegan cheese. This is one of my personal favorite go-to winter meals.

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I also made a big ol’ batch of these cookies for dessert. I think I should have made them thicker because they were a bit too crumbly, but the flavor was wonderful!

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On the 15th I woke up at 4:30 am bright and early & could not fall back asleep; I was so excited for the weekend we had before us! I started the day with oatmeal, protein powder, blueberries, granola and stevia.

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After drilling my brain with school work, around 3:30 pm we left for SF for a staycation. I was feeling pretty sick, the cold that is going around definitely got me, but I was ignoring it. That’s my go-to when I’m not feeling good- just pretend it’s not there. That is NOT sound nursing advice, hah. I did stock up on Advil, Halls, & Vitamin C to take along. We stopped for gas on the way, and I captured this rainbow. I will share about the weekend in a separate post because it was fun, special & so very memorable. Can’t wait!

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Questions for you:

  • Favorite hodge-podge meals?
  • What is a staple in your home? (Truly can be anything- food, candle, cleaning supplies- anything at all!)

xo <3

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Snow Capped Mountains & A Dragon!

This sounds like it’s about to be an episode of Game of Thrones, huh? Sorry, not quite that exciting 😉 I’m picking up where I left off from my last recap.

February 4th for breakfast I made french toast out of brioche from TJ’s. Y’all have gotta try this!!! The brioche from TJ’s is a game. changer. It’s our new obsession.

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We were running low on groceries at this point, so I had to get creative for eats. I made a purple sweet potato with meatless crumbles, hummus, and pickled beets from TJ’s.

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For dinner I made DJ a bubba burger with gruyere, and I had a mixup of eggplant, hummus, roasted peppers, and tempeh.

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On Tuesday, February 5th we woke up to a sight I have never seen before…. snow capped mountains!!! In the almost three years of living here I have never seen snow where we live!

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On Wednesday the 6th I chatted with my friend, Rachel, while out on a walk. Even though it was chilly it was a nice break in the day from the school work.

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In the evening I made quinoa/brown rice pasta from TJ’s with basic tomato sauce and gruyere shredded on top.

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Thursday morning the 7th I tried a new breakfast out! And while this post doesn’t contain a literal dragon, it does have dragon….fruit! Kori posted about these packs, and I forgot how delicious they are! I found a couple packs left in the freezer and mixed in a frozen banana, some coconut, peanut butter powder, and granola. Mmmm! It’s like ice cream for breakfast. I’m not a big Acai bowl person, but I love love love this.

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I went to Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon & the kiddos were in rare form! They had a bunch of candy leading up to class, hehe. I didn’t mind though- I love their energy. Also, I got a text from Amy, my SIL, that there was an explosion in SF. It turns out it originated in Hong Kong Lounge II, a restaurant on our bucket list and one of the city’s premier spots for dim sum. She was sending me pictures and it looked BAD. She only lived a couple blocks away and the fire department was having a hard time getting the fire under control at first. She almost had to evacuate, but finally they stopped it once PG & E turned off the gasline. It’s seriously tragic- I feel awful for the owners of the restaurant and all the others that were affected. I don’t think anyone was badly injured, thank goodness.

On Friday the 8th I finished up some big assignments during the day and then met up with Tammy for happy hour on Santana Row.

We went to a new spot, EMC Seafood & Raw Bar.

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I adored the decor & the general vibe. Such a fun little spot.

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Their oysters for happy hour are $1.50! They were huge & really yummy! You can tell just how fresh they are. Wowza.

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We then split some ahi tuna crispy rice. I’d never had crispy rice before, but Tammy explained it is a southern California delicacy! So good. Love the texture/flavor together.

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We also had the truffled salmon sashimi. Good lawd, this was everything. I think it might have been my favorite thing we ate.

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We also tried a few nibbles of the uni pasta. It was creamy and tasty..almost like alfredo! I haven’t liked uni when I’ve tried it in the past, but this uni wasn’t quite as bitter. I will say I think this dish was far overpriced. I probably wouldn’t order it again and would just stick to straight seafood dishes. But people rave about it- so maybe it’s just me! I took a dish home for DJ. He tried it and gave it an 8/10 which is a pretty good rating for him.

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On February 9th for dinner I made DJ a chicken parm with garlic naan bread. I made the breading with frozen bruschetta that I had made about a month ago (I just defrosted it, put it in the food processor, then put it on the chicken once I basted it with eggs). Y’all know I am a freezing fanatic, but why waste food when it can go to good use?! He loved it!

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I had cauliflower mashed potatoes, beets, boca crumbles, and pumpkin butter that did not photograph well, imagine a big ol’ purple thing of mush, ha!

Also, I just had to include how beautifully our Tim Cantor collector’s book fits into our home!

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I’ll stop here 🙂 Hope you all are having a great start to the week!

Questions for you:

  • Have you tried Uni?
  • What are you looking forward to most this coming week?

xo <3

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Cookies, Curry Pizza & a Donut Bar!

Hey hey!!! How are ya?! This post is the beginning of highlights from the last couple weeks in between school and work, aka food pics. Let’s just dive right in, shall we? On January 20th we got back around midnight from the race and went straight to sleep just exhausted. On January 21st we luckily both had some time to recover. DJ had a day off work & I just worked on school assignments all day while also unpacking and doing laundry. I woke up ravenous and craving carbs. I made a big bowl of oatmeal with mini wheats and peanut butter. Mmmm!

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In the evening we watched Bachelor, and of course, had to have our Tollhouse cookies accompany us!

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Fairlife is hands down the best chocolate milk around. This & the cookies together is our favorite combo.

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January 22-the 23rd I just did tons of school work morning to night and on the 24th I went to Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon. They had all their homework done already, so I helped one of the girls create a restaurant menu (they have popsicle sticks to pull with fun ideas to pass the time if they finish their homework up)- it was so cute seeing her thought process and preferences! She wanted it to be a Pizza buffet and named it “Pizza More”. We served gelato AND Ice cream.. she felt it was very important to serve both, hehe.

January 25th was the same, but I captured a picture of our dinner of scallops, brown rice, and roasted beets. I am on a roasted beets kick right now!

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January 26th I completed my first run after recovering from the race! In the evening, DJ and I decided to have an easy date night. We went to Curry Pizza House to try some unique ‘za! Indian food & pizza combined- sounded like heaven to me!

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We grabbed our pizzas and headed home. We were excited to see they included jalapeño ranch dressing. If ya haven’t tried it yet- ya gotta! I’m from the midwest, so pizza + ranch is a true delicacy in my book.

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We put in an order for their their house Desi garlic sticks with red onion & green chilis. So yummy.

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We ordered a large pizza- half and half: DJ tried the Chili Paneer with curry sauce, cheese, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, red onion, masala paneer, green onions, and fresh cilantro with chicken added. My half was Aloo Chaat with red sauce, marinated potatoes, mint, red onion, cheese, and fresh cilantro with mushrooms added. We weren’t sure what to expect flavor wise, but this definitely worked! Highly recommend trying curry pizza out if you like Indian food *heart eyes*.

We watched the movie, The Hate You Give while eating. I just finished up the book- and wow oh wow was it gripping. The movie was very well done & true to the story too. It’s one of those books that I think everyone should read (or at least see the movie)- it’s heavy, but so important. Thanks for the recommendation, Katy!

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On January 27th I woke up around 6:00 am to make sure I had time to get to Starbucks before church.

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And off we go, Cafe au Lait in hand!

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This particular Sunday we set up a donut bar for the guests! It was so much fun!

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I came back from church and decided I wanted to re-do my entire paper I had spent the previous week formulating. SO, I spent from about 11:30 am to 9:30 pm at night reworking the assignment. Good times.

In the evening I made some scallops with roasted zucchini, rice, and Koop’s Arizona Heat. This has been a go-to combo lately!

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On January 28th, I submitted that paper and took a big ole’ breath of relief. For lunch I had a purple sweet potato with Fage, avocado, dolmas, hummus and red pepper flakes. I then started the next assignment for the week. Of course in the evening, we watched Bach!

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January 29th was same ol’ same ol’.

In the evening of January 30th, I put together a super simple dinner of gnocchi with creamy tomato basil sauce and fresh shredded gruyere cheese.

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This gnocchi was wonderful!! TJ’s for the win, yet again.

On January 31st I finished up some discussion forums in the morning then went to Boys and Girls club in the afternoon. On my way, I saw this adorable little bug, and the whole scene reminded me of a scene from a cartoon, like something you would see in Up.

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In the evening I made a big salad for myself with all the veggies, hummus, and a bean burger and put together Garlic Naan with Lamb Vindaloo for DJ from guess where? Yep- you got it- TJ’s.

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Friday February 1st I spent the whole day working on assignments, but I did get some blogging in I believe! On Saturday morning of February 2nd I woke up extra early, ran about eight miles, and then went with DJ to meet our campus pastors at Voyager Coffee in San Jose at 10:30 am. I’ve been here a couple times before, and I love their lattes. You can tell they use high quality beans for sure.

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I just love spending time with our Pastors. We caught up and chatted a bunch about this upcoming year and just life in general.

After coffee we met up with some other close friends from church for dim sum! Woohooo!! Twice in a couple months! We went to Mayflower in Saratoga.

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The menu was very different from the last time we tried it, but still got a bunch of good dishes to share. I tried jellyfish for the first time (first picture) and really enjoyed it! The Lazy Susan in the middle was fun to pass food around!

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I really enjoyed their tea too. I didn’t get a bunch of pictures, but it was great to spend time with everyone & the food was pretty good. Not quite on the level of City View– but that place is considered one of the best in the entire Bay!

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In the afternoon DJ told me their was a gorgeous rainbow outside- luckily I caught it in time! No matter how old you are I feel like rainbows are still exciting to see.

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For dinner I made DJ a steak with birds eye veggies and brown rice. I had a salad out of my massive bowl, or trough as we joke, with pan seared tempeh, hummus, and tons of veggies.

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February 3rd the hospitality team put together this fun Super Bowl breakfast. The brown dishes are shaped like footballs!

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The rest of the day was school, school, break to do a blog post, school. I picked up DJ some Buffalo Wild Wings for the game- his tradition on Super Bowl day, haha. Even though I was working on some assignments, it was really nice just sitting next to DJ and “watching” the game (but really only commercials). I’ll make a part 2 for the rest of the recap!

Questions for you:

  • Feelings about ranch on pizza? I know you have a strong opinion either way 😉
  • Favorite kind of milk or chocolate milk?

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!!

xo <3

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San Diego Part 3: Barbusa, Carlsbad Marathon, & Crack Shack!

Happy Monday, y’all! This last couple weeks has been jam-stinkin’-packed, especially with school, so I’m getting posts out a lot slower than usual (I feel like a broken record, saying this). I finished up a huge project last night so now I have at least a couple hours today to maybe get one or two posts written!

After spending the day in Balboa Park, we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. They had complimentary wine and tapas in the lobby so we grabbed some tostadas & an apertif before our reservation.

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We then went to Little Italy to carb load before the big race! We said this would our dinner to celebrate my birthday as well as Pete’s whose was on the 23rd 🙂

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After much research, we decided to try Barbusa,  a Busalacchi family restaurant. The Busalacchi family are renowned for owning a medley of authentic, delicious Italian restaurants in the San Diego area.

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This was a unique spin on an Italian restaurant. It was more contemporary with distinctive decor, but still had a “warmth” about it.

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There was a tribute to famous Italians on the wall- can you identify any of them?

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My one and only complaint was the volume- it was noisy! It was almost uncomfortable how loud it was- we didn’t mind, but it doesn’t encompass that old school “romantic” ambiance of most Italian restaurants.

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Our waiter was just awesome! He was helpful navigating the menu, especially the wines and had a thick Italian accent. You know you’re getting the real deal when the waiter is 100% Italian!

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The bread!!!! This was delicious.

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For an appetizer we tried tempura squash blossoms. These were very enjoyable- pretty & tasty!

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My mom and I split their caesar. This was the best caesar dressing I’ve ever had! I compared it to my mom’s she uses for the grilled romaine she makes at home. No anchovy type flavor, just smooth deliciousness. I think it had a hint of balsamic with it that was just wonderful.

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My mom and I split two dishes (I love when we go out to eat together because we have identical tastes- so we just split a couple dishes usually). The first dish we tried was the Garganelli funghi with black truffle oil, oyster mushrooms, and whipped panna. Phenomenal. It reminded me a lot of the dish I had in Disney at Il Mulino!

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Just when I didn’t think I could have anything more yummy, we tried the Gnocchi e Zucca with roasted butternut squash, sage, and cream. Oh goodness gracious this was melt-in-your-mouth-savor-every-single-nibble deliciousness. You could tell the gnocchi was truly homemade. I usually have the philosophy that it’s best to try new things whenever given the chance, but if we come back to SD I may need to stop in for this dish again. Gosh, I can’t even put it into words!

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DJ tried the Carbonara con Piselli. This had fettuccini, sweet peas, caramelized onions, pork pancetta, and egg yolk. I tried some without the meat and it was so creamy and savory!

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And last up, Pete enjoyed the Bolognese al Forno with baked anelletti, beef and sausage ragu, english peas, and tres formaggi.

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And of course, we had room for dessert! We tried their deconstructed cannoli. Oh. WOWZA. It was scrumptious. Whatever they use to make their creamy cannoli filling was just creamy gold. The cannoli itself was cooked to perfection!

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Picture time!

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These two are just so much fun! After dinner, we went back to the hotel, opened up some bday gifts, and then called it a wrap!

After a night of tossing and turning from eagerness to run the race, it was finally 4:30 am and time to get up, lol. I can’t tell y’all how excited I was to run- I watched that darn clock all night. Also, not being able to run much was driving me nuts during the tapering!

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It was chilly, but a perfect temp for a race. We set off and the first seven or so miles were accompanied by a spectacular sunrise.

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I seriously don’t know what overcame me, but I was feeling guuuud. I think it was all the pasta and pent up energy. Eat pasta, run fasta!!! Anywho- y’all are probably so sick hearing about this from my other social media spots, but I qualified for Boston.. and seriously have NO clue how. All I can say is Jesus really is in the business of miracles, cause this is one! I was with the 3:30 pacer group for most of the race and then just gave it all I had at the end. I will say when I realized I was on pace to qualify I started visualizing crossing the finish at that time (3:30). I believe 100% in the power of visualization, and whenever I started losing steam I imagined crossing that line with 3:30 reading across the time board.

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Go, Djers, go!!

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Post race pics!

img_8773This was DJ’s first marathon!!! If he didn’t want to run this race I wouldn’t have signed up to begin with. I’m already reflecting so fondly on our training season, and to say I’m proud of him feels like an understatement. He’s an athlete, but not a runner specifically.. so this was a HUGE accomplishment for him. He didn’t run at all before, never even a half or anything, and one day just said, “I’m gonna run a marathon”. He did awesome!

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Our attempt at a selfie, haha.

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After the race we headed to Crack Shack for lunch! We were both definitely sore, but my stomach was more upset than anything. Still … we were ready to chow down!

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The line was insanely long and was taking a while. We were a bit nervous because my mom and Pete had an afternoon flight, but once we ordered the food came lickety split.

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We finally put our orders in and then grabbed a picnic table in their cute little sitting area. On our way over I saw all these delicious sauces they have to choose from! We basically tried one of each naturally.

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Their milkshakes bring all the marathoners to the yard! I didn’t know if my stomach could handle a full one, but I definitely had a few generous sips of each. Pete tried the strawberry shortcake and DJ had the Cookie Monster. I have to say, they were both insanely good- but I think I liked the strawberry shortcake better. The real pieces of cookie in the Cookie Monster were mighty tasty though. It’s a close call!

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I was craving something fresh and cold. Veggies sounded perfect. My mom and I both ordered a Downward Dog. This consisted of local veggies, quinoa, hummus, sunflower seeds, and lemon yogurt vinaigrette. This satisfied that craving entirely! Mmm I can nearly taste it.

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The guys ordered the Senor Croque that had chicken, bacon, egg, cheese, maple butter, and brioche.

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We all split the fries with the different sauces- and lemme say- they top notch !!! I would seriously go back just for those. Mm!

We decided to go straight to the airport after dropping my mom and Pete off since we weren’t really feeling like frolicking around the city. I know, I know- me turning down an opportunity to frolic in a city?!? My stomach just was not having it. We got to the airport too early apparently to check in (I didn’t know that was a thing), so we had to wait in the little pre-security area. I grabbed a coconut water and read on my Kindle app while DJ caught up on all ESPN world happenin’s.

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Once we got through security and found our gate we vegged out for a while. We realized we were kinda hungry again around 8:00 pm, so we decided to stop into Prado at the airport. The big Prado is a pretty famous restaurant in Balboa park! We haven’t had the chance to try it yet, so why not preview it here?! And y’all thought I was done being a tourist- nevvverrr.

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We split their fish tacos cause I had a bunch of snacks on me, and we were only an hour flight from home if we wanted more food. They were tasty!! The portion of blackened fish was a bit small, but whatevs, airport food- ya know?

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Oh my gosh.. did I do it?.. did I actually finally finish our San Diego trip recap?!! Pause for dramatic effect…

I’m gonna try to crank out a catch up post at some point this week, but I’m kinda in that season where I feel like I’m saying “yes” a lot, and my planner is very full on top of school work. It’s all great stuff- but just busy busy. More on that to come! Goodness, I’m so excited to catch y’all up on what’s going on.

Questions for you:

  • If you run races, what is your favorite race you have ever done?
  • Valentine’s Day- yay or nay?!

xo <3

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San Diego Part 2: Yummy Eats, Marathon Expo & Balboa Park!

Hey, everyone!! School + other responsibilities are really vying for my attention right now, so it’s gonna probably take a while to catch up on these posts & your posts! Hang tight though- I’m hoping to get a huge chunk done by Thursday or so to take a couple hours to catch up 🙂

In Part One we left off with the four of us- my mom (Momma Jill), step-dad (Pete), DJ and I heading into Gaslamp for the evening. I instantly recognized the Ghirardelli store with its neon lights beaming down the road… the last time we were here I had to stop in and grab some chocolate squares to satisfy my sweet tooth! It’s crazy how long year ago feels, yet also crazy how quickly it flew by.

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Time for some authentic Mexican cuisine! This was the one type of food we had to get while we were here.  San Diego is famous for it! Last time we went to La Puerta, probably the most popular spot in Gaslamp. It was pretty good & a unique spot- but I wouldn’t necessarily say worth the wait. We decided to try the place next door that had great reviews- Las Hadas. I’ll say right off the bat- I think it was way better than La Puerta. There was no wait, the food was just tremendous, and the service was impeccable. A+++.

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We started with some fresh guac and chips to start.

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DJ ordered the Surf and Turf Burrito with skirt steak, shrimp, cilantro rice, pico de gallo, avocado salsa, jack & cheddar cheese. It was topped with a cajun salsa and jalapeño crema! I’m sitting on the couch next to DJ and asked him to describe it in one word- he said, “Really good” … that’s two words, but we’ll give it to him. 😉

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My mom and I split the vegetarian fajitas with roasted corn, black beans, bell peppers, onions, cilantro and fresh seasonal vegetables. These were just terrific! I was a little skeptical since they didn’t have red/yellow/orange pepper mix (my personal fave for fajitas), but the combo worked beautifully. We raved about them basically with every bite.

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& last but not least, Pete enjoyed the steak fajitas!

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After a wonderfully satisfying meal, we went to the Art Gallery of my favorite artist- Tim Cantor. His art isn’t for everyone- it’s certainly unique, but it resonates with me. I was excited to show my mom and Pete! They were troopers, appreciating the fact that I appreciated it, hehe. My mom is such a social butterfly and struck up a conversation with the woman who was working there. It turns out she is Tim Cantor’s wife, and offered to show me the original of my favorite painting Thieves of May in the back of the studio. I had chills. I got emotional when she showed it to me. Magic happens when you take Momma Jill places, hehe.

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On the way out, my mom surprised me with his collector’s book, Affinité, as a birthday gift! I was insanely excited- this immediately became one of my most treasured possessions.

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San Diego also has great options for rooftop bars and views. We weren’t quite ready to turn in for the night, so we decided to go to Altitude Sky Lounge , home of the best panoramic views of the city last time. (We discovered this last time we were here)

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The part DJ loves the most is you can overlook Petco Park.

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What a memorable evening! <3

On the morning of Saturday January 16th, we swung open the blinds to see this expansively gorgeous view of the city!

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After getting ready for the day, we met up with my mom and Pete in the lobby.

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Here is a cute pic of their little coffee bar setup!

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They even had Mexican Hot Chocolate available- too cute.

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We filled our water bottles up with watermelon water & hit the road!

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First things first: Food. Am I right orrrr am I right? We found a cute little spot close to where the marathon Expo was located in Carlsbad called Beach Plum Kitchen. We did call ahead for Yelp, but still managed to try a bit of coffee cake on our way in 😉

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That stuff was guuuud.

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Such a stinkin’ adorable brunchy spot.

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My mom and I both tried their honey lavender latte. Holy cannoli guacamole ravioli- this was SO good. I had to restrain myself from chugging the deliciousness down all at once.

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My mom and I split two dishes: The avocado toast and smoked salmon!

img_8696My mom did say that my homemade avocado toast was better- I’d have to agree but that’s because I make it with Oren’s pita bread- can’t top that stuff! 😉

The smoked salmon bagel hit the spot though! So yummy. This is easily one of my all time favorite brunch dishes. If you haven’t tried lox, you gottta. I’ll never forget the first time I had it a few years ago! Life changin’ .

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Pete and DJ both tried a skillet hash & gobbled um’ all up!

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Expo time!! This expo was a lot smaller than others I have been to- especially the Flying Pigs one in Cincinnati- that one was massive. Even the Big Sur one seemed much larger with more vendors too. Either way it was still fun to frolic around (yes, frolic).

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Got our bibs!!!

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Funny seeing you here, Mr. Friar! This is the San Diego Padres’s mascot.

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We didn’t stay too long, just made one round through the vendors. I mainly like getting all the free protein bar samples haha. The coolest thing I discovered was Ultima. This stuff is like a gatorade alternative, but much cleaner. I had it throughout the race & it really did feel hydrating. Gatorade always makes my mouth feel dry and sticky.  DJ had the idea to take the coast back to San Diego. My gosh the views were beautiful. We briefly passed Torrey Pines too- a famous golf spot.

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Next up: Balboa Park!

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We strolled around enjoying the bright, sunny afternoon.

First up is the Organ and Pavilion- this is the largest outdoor Organ in the world, prettty cool.

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Next up is the picturesque view of the Japanese Friendship garden.

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Last time we did the museums but were pretty underwhelmed by them. This time we just decided to enjoy their exteriors, haha.

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Afternoon ice cream time!!! Really- is there anything better than soft serve?

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We found this spot kind of on the outskirts of the park near the zoo that was like a little art village. I don’t know how we missed this last time, but it was too fun!

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My mom and Pete have a travel wall in their home. She found the most beautiful little painting from the park to add to it.

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After the park we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I can’t wait to share with you where we went!

Questions for you:

  • Favorite Super Bowl commercial? Ours was the Bud Light & Game of Thrones one! Also did anyone else find the half time show kinda awkward?! They are all so talented but I wasn’t vibin’ the Travis Scott/Adam Levine combo.
  • Since I am sooo behind on reading posts please tell me something going on in your life right now 🙂

xo <3

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One Big Rambling Post!

I started this post a few days ago, but haven’t had the chance to finish it until today- SOoOooo I woke up extra early to get this sun-of-a-gun done once and for all!

Hey y’all! This is my last official catch up post before going back to school tomorrow. I looked over the curriculum, and it looks really intense this semester. I know it will be okay, but I’m pretty anxious to just get started and get back in the groove of things. I have to remind myself these first weeks with “syllabus shock” are always overwhelming. So with a big deep breath I will get us all caught up. Sorry if I am MIA for a little bit here while I adjust back to the crazy study schedule, but know that I will blog and read your blogs whenever time allows. Gonna always need a study break, ya know? 😉

December 29th was a must needed restful Saturday. We did a whole lotta nothing, and it was great! I think I worked on some blogging & for dinner whipped us up some mahi mahi I had in the freezer with veggies for dinner. We watched our Arrested Development in the evening, of coursee.

December 30th we went to church in the morning, and we food was scarce in the apartment at this point since I still hadn’t been to the store since we left. I had some frozen bison taco meat for DJ I had before hand (thank goodness) & I made a hodge-podge for myself of eggs, squash, and hummus for lunch. It weirdly worked!

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I grabbed a See’s candy lollipop & headed to Trader Joe’s to get some real foood.

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And that brings us to NYE- December 31st!! Woohoo! Last year for NYE we were in Texas with my mom and Pete. (PS. WHAT was I thinking with that type of falsies? Someone should have given me a stern talking to, lol!!! What a stage I went through. Oy to the veyyy). Anywho- we just stayed in, and it was so fun & relaxing. I suggested we do that again this year and try to make soufflés since we’ve been talking about doing that together after going to Cafe Jacqueline. We got all our ingredients together and got to work while listening to our ole’ buddy, Frank Sinatra.

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While the soufflé was in the oven we enjoyed some yummy appetizers. Did I go overboard for just two people? Nahhhh, no such thing! Most everything is from TJ’s & I pulled out my homemade hummus. The artisanal bread was wonderful! I also made some roasted carrots & beets. I have never made my own roasted beets before, but it may become a staple- they crisped up so easily like chips & were just delicious!

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^^ Fun fact: That was all frozen cheese (half regular/half vegan) from when we went to wine country a few months ago. Cheese freezes very well. You just defrost it & it’s good to go. (Just don’t let it melt- I accidentally let the pepperjack/some of the vegan provolone go a tiny bit too long).

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I also saw these champagne gummies I could not help but resist! They were very tasty!

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So when we first took out our soufflé from the oven it hadn’t quite risen all the way, but I think it eliminated the “rise” after we let the cool air in. We cooked it a few minutes longer and it puffed up a bit more and the cheese got all yummy & caramelized on top! (but that’s why there is a divide in it- from when we tried to get a slice the first time around).

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The flavor was spot on- we tried to recreate the corn/ginger/garlic flavor, and it was pretty doggone close! Next time we are going to cook it a little longer & I think I’m going to whip my egg whites a bit more to give it more rise (isn’t that how it works?). It was still so light and airy, we enjoyed every little nibble!!! Once I perfect it I will share the recipe!

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We then plopped on the couch to watch the NYE show. This year looked frigid in the ole’ NYC.

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But ya cannot forget dessert. Believe it or not we still had room for this bad boy below.

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We saw this recipe on Tasty and when is a better time to recreate this monster than NYE? Here’s the thing though- we like every baked good we eat at home severely undercooked- practically asking for salmonella (what’s life without living on the edge). So all cookies, brownies, etc…must only be kissed by the oven! This meant it didn’t all “compact” the way it did in that video and really was just a big glob, but man, was it ever a good glob! SO rich, but goood. (I may or may not have had my slice with some double fudge brownie ice cream too).

^^ haha, it’s so obnoxious.

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Jan 1st was the last day off for DJ before he went back to work, so we just chilled at home, worked on Christmas “thank yous”, enjoyed leftovers throughout the day, and I went on a 12-mile run at some point. I also read a big chunk of The Hate You Give– I can’t wait to finish it- I could do a whole post on how it has challenged my perspectives & opened my eyes. Highly recommend this read to everyone.

The 2nd I spent nearly the entire day posting on Poshmark! LOVE Poshmark.

The 3rd I had a Facetime Dinner date with my best friend from Ohio, Rachel. MISS HER soooo much. My picture I took didn’t turn out, but she got one from her end!

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After, I went to Sara’s to hangout and catch up after our holidays. We had some tea and gabbed away for hours.

Friday, January 4th- January 5th were another two days of just getting things off the to-do list and ready for school and shipping Poshmark sales. In the evening I made these bacon wrapped scallops for DJ since our leftovers were getting low.

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He loved them! Definitely a two-thumbs-up recommendation!

Sunday, January 6th, we went early to church to help on the serving team (I’m so thankful I finally have a schedule that allows me to be a part of that again!). Since DJ “bumps out” (tears down the equipment, venue since it is a rental, etc.) after the 11:30 service we had some time between the two to grab some breakfast/brunch. We went to the table in Willow Glen that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I realized I kinda stalk restaurants- I’ll drive by a few times, look them up on YELP, go into a deep Google review dive, and then finally visit and introduce myself in person.

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Since it was raining outside & somewhat chilly their outdoor seating area was freed up. I had my winter coat on and they had heaters, so we agreed to go ahead and sit out there to weather the storm. The temperature was actually just fine with the heaters! We did walk through the inside of the restaurant to get there- loved the vibe and how it was decorated.

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The menu had such unique options & changes frequently! It was a bit on the pricier side, but it’s all seasonal locally sourced ingredients and everything was wonderful- the service, food, environment.

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The coffee was yummy- but could have been a bit hotter (but that’s what I say everywhere 😉 ).

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DJ tried their lemon ricotta pancakes and they were what lemony dreams were made of!! Sometimes when I order the lemon ricotta pancakes the “lemon” doesn’t quite come through, but the flavor was brilliant in these. Can you tell I snagged a few bites?

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I had their avocado, crab, and egg toast that was considered a “snack”. This was not your average avocado toast- it had Dungeness crab & trout roe on perfectly cooked toast (very slightly burnt). Mmm!

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Monday January 7th I met with my nurse friend Kim in the afternoon for coffee at Orchard Valley in Campbell. I am totally gonna have to come here to study! They had so many tables & it was nice n’ quiet.

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It was lovely to catch up with Kim, I always leave our conversations refreshed and encouraged.

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In the evening I made us Sriracha Shrimp Bowls with eggs & artisanal bread (still left from TJs!). It was a great combo, kinda reminded me of bibimbap!

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We plopped down to watch the train wreck that was the premiere of Colton’s season of The Bachelor. Lemme say, it easily could have been an hour, not three. I’m going to watch every second, but I am beyond tired of the virgin storyline, and quite frankly, I think some of the girls need to check themselves because a couple were downright disrespectful about it. I know I don’t usually get heated up in hurrr, but I could go off! First night favorites: Cassie and Katie. I thought Bri’s entrance was gold (although she looks a lot like Lauren Bushnell which…….. ehhh… that’s all I’ll say). I also didn’t mind Erika’s entrance! I liked that it was simple & a play on her name. Demi’s trouble, but I’m here for it. I’m surprised Jane & Erin got sent home. Would love to hear your thoughts!!

Going from reality TV back to reality, I told DJ something I wanted to try this year was one recipe per week of his request to get me out of my own cooking comfort zone. One of his favorite soups is cream of veg from the Dixie Stampede. I made it a long time ago (probably four years), and he requested it to be his recipe of the week. I made it on Tuesday the 8th, and it was crazy easy, but he kept raving about how much he loved it.

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Yesterday, the 9th, I started school. I don’t know why, but I was suffering from some severe anxiety that made it hard to even get through even a paragraph of reading. I thought I got it all under control after my residency ended, but it’s creeping back up. I think seeing the massive load of assignments we have this semester plus some big life changes (more on that to come) just felt overwhelming to think about (although it’s all great stress to have). And I know the anxiety is disproportional… I submitted an assignment and forgot to indent and space in a couple spots, and it nearly sent me into a full blown panic attack. I couldn’t stop thinking about it the rest of the day (It was a TWO point introduce yourself post). Coo-koo, I tell ya what! Maybe it’s hormones… is it a full moon?! I bet it’s a full moon. Nope, it’s not a full moon, I just checked. Scratch that. Hmm idk. I’m just gonna ride this wave out. I read some scripture in the evening which really helped put me at ease, and I already feel better refreshed this AM. Okay enough rambling- gotta get back to work. I get to see my third graders today too at B+G club that I haven’t seen since mid-December, so I have that to look forward to this afternoon!

Question for you:

  • Any recipes you’ve tried lately that you love?
  • Best book you’ve ever read? (I’m making my 2019 reading list now!)

xo <3

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All that and Dim Sum!

Ooooh ohhh we’re halfway thereeee, ohhhh livin’ on a prayer! I had four posts to get out this weekend (maybe five), and we are officially halfway to that goal. Thanks for spending a bit of time out of your day to read.. I know y’alls lives are busy and it always blows my mind that any of ya care about what we’re up to.

So after we returned from Texas we slept till the cows came home on December 28th. We were just whooped from all the time changes & random sleep schedule. When we finally arose from our hibernation it was time for breakfast. There wasn’t a ton in the fridge, but I was able to whip together a recreation of the mushroom toast I had from Toast in San Jose (or at least I tried!). It was pretty good, but yeah, not quite the same 😉

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We spent the rest of the day cleaning… I’m talking deep cleaning… I’m talking intensive deep cleaning! We like to do a massive clean-out every few months, but this is the largest we’ve done in a while. We scrubbed every dern inch of our apartment. It felt sooo fresh after.

On December 29th after church we went to San Francisco to meet up with Amy and her boyfriend for Dim Sum.

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I have never had Dim Sum before, but it’s been something I have been eager to try for months. City View has a great reputation as one of the most authentic and delicious (yet reasonably priced) Dim Sum places in SF.

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We went around 1:00 pm and the place was packed. In order to get your name on the list you literally have to chase down the lady with the notepad to have her put your name on the list. I’m not exaggerating at all- you have to be actually aggressive to get your name on or you won’t get seated. As soon as I could finally get to her I said “Mack, four” (for four people) in a stern voice. We waited probably fifteen minutes just to even get our name ON the list. It felt odd being that pushy- but I guess that’s the name of the game as that is what everyone else was doing.

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We probably waited about 40-50 minutes total- not too bad!

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When we were seated, ladies started coming around with carts with multiple steaming items on them that grab the attention of your eyes and your nostrils. You just point to what you would like and they place it on your table. They keep tabs on what you order so you just point and then chow down!

Here is the low down:

We started with bao buns. Now this is what I expected in trying bao! It was absolutely delicious. If you are a carbaholic like me, you would lovee these.

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Pekking Duck: I tried a tiny nibble- very savory & full of flavor.

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Scallop + Shrimp skewers: Maybe my favorite part of the entire meal- I could have ate a bowl of these. SO good.

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Steamed spinach + oyster sauce: Fine, a nice change of flavor- but just tastes like steamed spinach.

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Turnip cakes (your left)- This was my second favorite dish I think! Gosh, these were so good. I didn’t know what to expect, but these were packed with flavor & I really enjoyed the texture (think almost like tofu in texture). On the right are the fried crab claws- they were good, naturally, but a bit too fried for my liking.

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After this first round, it was dumpling time!!

First up- soup dumplings! Very good.

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Then shrimp dumplings– a staple of dim sum- also yum!

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Wild mushroom– Mmmmm mmm! Terrific.

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Pork and peanut– From those that tried it they said they were good with a strong peanut flavor

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Chicken siu mai in the bottom right- DJ said “pretty good” haha.

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The pot stickers were great too from the little nibble I tried.

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BBQ Pork Buns– I just tried the actual bun part with a little of the sauce, and it was a flavor so tremendous it’s hard to describe! This was overall the favorite of the meat eaters. The bun was sweet, fluffy, and warm- yet it nearly melts in the mouth. If they were stuffed with veggies I could eat these all day every day every meal. They were phenomenal.

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Egg Custard Tarts– We were not fans. They didn’t have any flavor at all?!

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Our first dim sum experience was a success!! If you have had dim sum I would love to hear some of your favorite dishes.

We grabbed our leftovers to go (none of that tasty cuisine was going to go to waste!) then DJ and I walked around China Town a little bit

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The artwork around downtown is always fascinating.

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We then went to The Fairmont to witness the famous Gingerbread House that they have set up in the lobby every holiday season.

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It was just magnificent!

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Can you believe this things is real?!

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It was such a beautiful day. I told DJ I wanted to frolic around a little longer. He always playfully laughs at me when I use that word.

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But if this isn’t frolicking I don’t know what is!

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I just love some of the store fronts in SF. There is so much history and culture in this city. It’s intricately woven with so much detail and stories on every corner. Not to get sappy, but SF really does have a special place in my heart.

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We walked around Union Square a bit before heading back home.

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Questions for you:

  • I just finished up the Golden Globes- did anyone else watch? I love award shows- I especially love seeing the dresses & outfits, seeing reactions, and hearing speeches. Also, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were stinking adorable!
  • Bach is on tomorrow– who is watching?! I’m actually excited for this season even though it’s been neigh-sayed quite a bit.

Have a wonderful week!

xo <3

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Last Day in Texas- Part 3!

And sadly, we have arrived to our last day in Texas. We absolutely soaked up every second of it though! In the morning my mom took me on a little mom-daughter date to Summer Moon while DJ did his training run. This is a lovely little coffee shop that recently opened in Keller.

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Everything in this coffee shop is so cute.

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They have tons of vegan and gluten free options too!

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Whatever they put in “moon milk” is soooo darn delicious. One of the best lattes I have ever had! We only ordered the 1/4 moon, and it was plenty sweet. Their beans are wood-fired too, and you can definitely taste the difference.

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My mom and I split the vegan almond croissant (perfection) & the vegan pumpkin muffin. Their pastries are spectacular. We agreed we even liked this almond croissant more than Tartine’s (one that is hard to beat!).

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The coffee with the treats was absolutely wonderful. The pumpkin muffin was dense and yummmyyy. I loved having that time with my momma to catch up one-on-one too.

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Jadie lounging around..

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After DJ got back from his run, Pete cooked up Five Star hot dogs for the guys! These hot dogs are famous back from Cleveland. In fact, my mom and Pete have them shipped down to Texas from CLE… yes, that good!

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Our flight wasn’t until the evening, so we decided to make the most of the afternoon as possible! We went to downtown Roanoke, a brand new little area that sprung up within the last year. It is truly the definition of quaint and the boutiques are adorable!

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And anytime there is a candy shop, gotta pop in!

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This place was adorable.

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We even found some Harry Potter frogs & wands!!

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Since we still had some time before we had to leave for the airport we decided to try out Craft & Vine. This is a fun little taproom where you can find the most original craft beers and wines.

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You can walk by and see everything that is on tap and read all the info about each selection.

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We all opted to try their beer. They were all great flavors- they actually tasted like their descriptions (which I feel like is hard to come by in beer haha).

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And one last hurrah, gotta try Andy’s Frozen Custard before we leave!

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Pete had the Ozark turtle

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& DJ tried the triple chocolate concrete that I had a few big bites of. I forgot how amazing custard is. Wowwwza. Tast-eeee!

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Once we got home I had a hankerin’ for some real food, so I enjoyed some leftovers.

We made it to the airport on time, but then our flight got delayed about two hours. BUT we were stranded in the best terminal in all of DFW. We had plentiful restaurant options and plenty of room to set up shop (aka blog). By the time 9 rolled around we were hungry again (imagine!). Since we knew it would be a long night we decided to go to Reata in the airport. You may remember when we first went to Reata with my mom and Pete from this post from a few years ago. When we saw it, we just could not pass it up.

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DJ had their country fried steak

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& I had the veggie platter with rice- it was perfect for what I was craving.

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The flight back was great- easy peasy!

Questions for you:

  • This is an odd one- but do you have a favorite airport? I think DFW terminal D is now my favorite, hehe. DJ’s favorite airport is Indianapolis because it’s super easy and straight forward.
  • One thing you are excited for this coming week?

xo <3

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Our Texas Christmas- Part 2!

hey y’all! I am soo far behind on these posts, and I feel like I’m moving at a snail’s pace getting them out. My goal is to catch up before starting back up at school in a few days! Oh, and this is entirely foodie laden, so have your snacks in hand need be 😉

The last post ended after an awesome run Christmas Day. Around 3:00/4:00 pm, a couple neighbors came over to have lots of appetizers & a phenomenal dinner.

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My mom’s neighbor brought over this gorgeous cheese spread with olives and tomato garnish with a wonderful oil drizzle. It was the best cheese spread ever.

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My mom also made her homemade guac which is to-die-for.

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We went out onto the patio to enjoy some wine, scrumptious appetizers, and great conversation.

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Dinner time! We had roasted green beans & potatoes…

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Dinner rolls.. (a must)..

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Wild rice…

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Roasted butternut squash & craisins…

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Halibut for us pescatarians.. (gosh this was guuuud)…

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And beautiful Cornish hens for the meat eaters! I tried a tiny bite of DJ’s out of curiosity, and although I don’t care for the taste of meat usually, this was very tasty! DJ kept talking about how much he loved them too.

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That is a meal I will remember for a looong time. After dinner we played What Do You Meme? OFFICIALLY my favorite game.

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Dessert was a mix of Christmas cookies, french silk pie, and Pete’s famous pumpkin crunch.

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Pete’s pumpkin crunch is one of the things I look forward to most during the holidays. It’s basically pumpkin pie meets cake meets alll your dreams come true. Ya just load it up with cool whip and you are good to go!

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In the evening we started A Star Is Born. We only made it halfway through before going to sleep. Even from the first half of the movie I was amazed by Lady Gaga’s acting & of course Bradley Cooper was outstanding as always. The story line was gripping.

In the morning of December 26th, we went for a nice long run and then I had some of my mom’s vegan pesto pizza & a couple hard boiled egg whites for a protein boost.

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The day was sooo relaxing. We lounged around most of the day, watched an episode of The Great British Baking show, I blogged a bit, and then in the evening we went to Fogo De Chao. The weather was horrible getting there (there were tornado warnings all over the place, but has that ever stopped us from hunting down food?!). We have all been talking about going here for a while since my mom, Pete, and DJ haven’t tried a Brazilian Steakhouse before. So we all thought why not give it a try! (I had been to one in high school when I still ate meat that was incredible, but was dying to try it out again! Their veggie options are tremendous too).

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You can choose to do the meat + feijoda bar or just the feijoda bar (veggies galore, meats, cheeses, smoked salmon, unique dishes, hot dishes, breads, etc.). If you choose to do the meats, they come around with multiple cuts of amazing meats, and if you have your card on the “green” side (meaning you would like a cut of the meat off the skewer) or they pass your table if you have the “red” side (meaning I’m okay…. for now).

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The brought out these bread rolls, pao de quiejo, which I was immediately obsessed with. They were so light, delicious, fluffy, and had a cheddar flavor that lingered on the tongue after a bite.

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Here are some pics from the bar! Some of my favorites were the smoked salmon, beets, hearts of palm, and various cheeses.

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Since we came on a Wednesday, bottles of wine were half off- woohoo!!! We split a Chilean red, and oh MY, I’ve heard Chile wine is great from my sister who has been there, but goodnessss, this stuff was top-notch.

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The picture below shows an example of them coming by with the skewer and meat being shaved off table side! You can see on the table that DJ has the green side up meaning he would, in fact, like more meat.

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They also brought out some sides from the kitchen that blew our socks off. The polenta sticks may have been my favorite, the caramelized bananas were sweet and delicious, and the creamy garlic mashed potatoes probably speak for themselves!

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Once we came home I snuck in a couple snuggles with this little pup. She loves me, I promise… even though she looks a bit unsure… haha.

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We finished A Star is Born that evening too. Talk about a tear jerker!! Goodness that movie is so well done and so darn emotive. Have tissues if you watch.

Questions for you:

  • Best movie or TV show you’ve watched recently?

xo <3

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Our Texas Christmas!

Hey All! I left off from our arriving in Texas after our Cleveland trip.

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In the evening of Christmas Eve we attended the candlelight ceremony at my Mom and Pete’s church. (Love my sister photo bombing us… It was like she was there, lol!). I realllly did miss her so much- her and Kevin went to Peru to spend Christmas with his fam. We face-timed the day of though, and it was fun to virtually meet some of Kevin’s family!

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The Candlelight service is one of my favorites of the whole year.

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The service & music was just moving- my eyes sweated a few times during the ceremony for sure. Easily one of my favorite hours of the entire Christmas season- taking time to worship & remember the true meaning of this chaotic, fun, wonderful season.

When we returned home my mom put out the most delicious shrimp cocktail & cheese with a pepper jam and crackers. Okay- I neeed to get that pepper jam! This is such a scrumptious appetizer to whip up; I’m gonna remember this for next time we host!

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I also had to share the Christmas table my mom assembled. Each set of plates is unique, and they were not all bought from the same place. Look how beautifully it all goes together though!

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I always get home decor tips/tricks from her when I visit.

For dinner we had grilled romaine with parmesan cheese and tomatoes (post the romaine scare- don’t worry it was the safe stuff 😉 ).

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For the guys, Pete made some mouth-watering lamb tenderloin. DJ raves about Pete’s grilling.

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My mom made the vegan version for us!!! Below are little seitan riblets. Gooooodness gracious, I think this is my favorite faux meat dish everr.

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We had some of my mom’s famous cornbread… I could eat this straight out of the pan with a spoon. It’s insanely good.

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Roasted potatoes with rosemary, yum!…

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And the whole doggone delicious spread!..

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After dinner we watched the movie BlacKkKlansman. It is a really thought-provoking movie, with a fast paced, intriguing story line, and a gut-wrenching, powerful ending. It’s one of those endings you forget to breathe.

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After getting a deep night sleep, we woke up to Christmas!

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Our usual pattern for Christmas morning is presents, breakfast, stockings. This year we made an Instapot egg casserole with bacon for the guys and a veggie egg casserole for us.

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Time for stockings!!  They are so sweet to still do them for us even as adults <3 Pete and my mom make one for each other each year too which I think is just precious.

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Stocking stuffers! Look at all those See’s Candies suckers! *heart eyes*

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In the afternoon, I went on a 7-mile training run.

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I don’t know what was in the air, but I was just having the smoothest of runs while I was there. Christmas night was tons of fun, but I’ll save that for the next post 🙂

Question for you:

  • What’s your favorite thing you’ve done so far this year? cheesy question, I knoww 😉

xo <3

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