Lotsa Pho & Homemade Soufflé Pancakes!

** SO I wrote this post on the 20th and totally forgot to publish it, so here it is over a week later, haha**

Can four posts in 24 hours be done?! I am tryin’! I have 45 minutes before I am heading to Boys and Girls Club, so I’m gonna try to get this done really quick. Although I’ll probably publish it in a couple days to give ya a breather from all the Disney excitement 😉

After saying our goodbyes to the fam on the evening of the 8th, Amy, DJ, and I all headed to the airport at around 6 am on December 9th. Amy and I were starting to feel that ominous “tickle” in the back of the throat. We loaded up on Vitamin C packs to take with our generous 2 ounces of complimentary water on the plane.

I thought this little set up at our gate was adorable!

img_5004

Luckily the seat next to DJ and me wasn’t occupied, so Amy joined us! Unluckily, I felt like absolute crud, so I was a bump on the log and barely moved the entire flight. I studied what I could and then just slept.

The only food that sounded appetizing once we were home was pho. Pho is the ultimate comfort food when sick, especially from House of Pho (hands down the best Pho around).

I also had to get the fresh tofu spring rolls. They always look so darn good in Hunida’s posts, and had me craving some of those too. They were so tasty and refreshing. The peanut sauce was on point.

img_4966-1

We door-dashed it, as we had ZERO energy. I chose the vegetarian option. It was just what I was craving, and I always feel like eating spicy pho helps to clear out the sinuses and kill the bad germs. I don’t think there is any science behind that theory, but I’m stickin’ to it. I felt almost instantly better after eating the noods.

img_4969-1

DJ ordered a chicken pho that he really enjoyed.

img_4967-1

Later that evening DJ got hungry again so I whipped him up Chicken Tikka Masala with Naan from TJ’s. I always like to have fast meals on hand for when I’m not in the mood to cook. TJ’s comes in clutch with frozen meals, especially during this crayzayyy time of year. This gets a 8/10 from DJ. I absolutely love the naan. For being frozen naan I think it’s as good as it gets!

img_4970-1img_4971-1

December 10th I spent the entire day studying away. Just studied, studied, studied! In the evening I made DJ a cheese tortellini with parmesan crisps.

img_4972-1img_4973-1

I had the second half of my leftover pho. The serving they gave in this delivery was very generous!

img_4974-1

December 11th I took my final!!! It went really well, and I am very thankful it is behind me now. A couple months ago I was debating if I should go to Disney because of the final, but I’m glad I made it work because it would have been horrible to miss out on such a wonderful  family trip. That is something my undergraduate self would have never dreamed of doing- look Ma, I’m more balanced!

In the evening I made Deej his favorite tacos per request. How he isn’t sick of these by now is beyond me.

img_4975-1

I was craving fresh raw veggies since I was finally feeling better. I had a big salad with a bean burger and hummus.

img_4976-1

December 12th I ran some errands in the afternoon to restock on groceries. I spent the rest of the evening catching up on laundry and all that fun stuff. In the evening I made Deej a cajun style pasta. He gave this pasta a 9/10.

img_4977-1img_4978-2

On December 13th, I grabbed a coffee in the morning and went for a walk while listening to podcasts. Perfect start to the morning. I also went to TJ Maxx to peruse for gifts & get a new planner after.

img_4979-1

After, I zipped to Santana Row to look around there for gifts. The five level parking garage was FULL midday. That is unheard of! Tis’ the season. This reminds me why I always try to get shopping done a few weeks before Christmas. People— people everywhere…

img_4980-1

On my way home I ran to the post office to drop some packages off and make some returns.

Friday the 14th was a fun day! I completed an 18-miler for marathon training, and then caught up on blogging. In the evening I made DJ a Shepherd’s pie from TJ’s. He rated it a 6/10. Probably not a rebuy for us. I had my big ole’ veggie mix again. I get on kicks with that salad. Mmmmm ! I’m already excited to have it in a few hours.

img_4981-1

We made sugar cookies from scratch and then decorated them. I just love the cookie making tradition 🙂 I would have made more, but since we are traveling the rest of December it didn’t really make sense. Every time at this year I am reminiscent of our Mingle & Jingle. One year I would like to do something like that again!

img_4982-1img_4991-1

Saturday December 15th I woke up early, worked on a blog post while watching The Great British Baking Show and enjoyed oatmeal & coffee out on the balcony.

img_4985

Saturday was a super lazy day for us, but much needed. I don’t even remember much of what we did- I’m going to guess Arrested Development & eating sugar cookies was in the mix.

Sunday the 16th was our Christmas Creative at church. I always love the Christmas Creative every year! Our Pastor says it’s the time of year when “we let the creatives out”, hah. They tell the Christmas story through gifts of singing, dancing, acting, video, etc. The talent just astounds me.

With no in-post segue (who has time for that?) I’m sad to inform you we found out some terrible news. You know the soufflé pancakes we just discovered and are obsessed with? Apparently, that was only a pop up location. They are moving out 🙁

img_4625-1

WELL. Are we gonna let this get us down?! NO… heck to the NAH. We are just gonna have to make our own! I looked up a recipe for soufflé pancakes and gave them a shot. I was ambitious and tried to make them in Christmas shapes. I forgot to grease the cookie cutters, so they didn’t come out perfectly shaped (womp womp), but were still a success from the flavor and texture standpoint!!!

img_4986-1img_4987-2

They were so fluffy, light, and tasted just like the ones we had! I definitely have room to improve, but I am excited they turned out as well as they did.

img_4988-1img_5024

This was the second batch which looks much more like the original ones we tried from Koja.

img_4989-1img_4990-1

On Monday December 17th, I did a HITT routine in the morning then met up with our campus Pastor, Amy, in the afternoon for some lunch & to catch up. We went to SoFa, a place in San Jose that is like a nice cafeteria set up with the yummiest foods to choose from.

img_4992-1img_4993-1

We both decided to nom down some poke. I usually go for ahi tuna when I get poke, but they had octopus on the menu which I had to try. It was absolutely satisfying.

img_4994-1img_4995

I caught up on more blogging in the afternoon & evening.

Tuesday December 18th I woke up early. I mixed up my usual oatmeal breakfast to use up some of the food we already had on hand. I made an egg white omelette with a bunch of veggies, hummus, and a slice of Ezekiel bread with low sugar raspberry jam.

img_4996

I went for a run in the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day!

img_4997

Yesterday the 19th I was running around like a nut trying to get everything ready to go for Christmas and traveling. And that brings us to today, the 20th! We leave later tonight to go back to Cleveland. It’s a red eye so I’m a bit nervous about the lack of sleep I’m facing especially with the time change, but I’ll just take it in stride per usual.

Question for you:

  • Favorite holiday tradition?

xo <3

signature-1

Advertisements

All the Carbs, Please!!

Hey, Hi, Hellur! I worked my tush off this week promising myself I could blog a bit tonight if I could get “x” number of assignments done! Annnd here we are! Wooohooo!!! The last week and a half was stuffed to the brim with soo many fun things. I cannot wait to share!

Sunday October 28th we went to church in the morning. I came home and whipped up a stuffed purple sweet potato with some leftover crab from my giant sushi burrito, avocado, and fage.

img_0632

It hit the spot! In the afternoon I worked on a massive school assignment that is due at the end of November while DJ worked on grad school schtuff. For a little break I ran to TJ’s.

img_1274

^These pumpkin biscottis were mighty tasty with some coffee!!!

img_1275  On my way home I received this text from my mom- in case anyone has a Boarshead near ya I thought you’d appreciate me passing it on 😉 How good does this sound?! Has anyone tried any dessert hummus?

img_0617

When I came home from our massive haul I whipped DJ and me up a Margherita Pizza.

img_1229

The way it bubbles gets me every time 🤤

img_1230

Monday October 29th all my new assignments were released. I worked, worked, worked as did DJ. For dinner I made him Bison Tacos per his request (I swear he never gets sick of these things haha), and I made myself a giant garden salad.

img_1232img_1233img_1234

October 30th was the same ole’ as the day before. Except for dinner I used some mini raviolis I found at Trader Joe’s to make mac n’ cheese ravioli.

I also tossed in a little tomato sauce and a bit of parm on top. I love the texture of parm on top of any pasta- always the perfect finishing touch!

img_1235I had a tiny bit with my favorite salad, and DJ pretty much destroyed the rest 😉

In the evening I perused through Food & Wine magazine to get ideas brewing for Thanksgiving. I am PSYCHED to cook up a storm this year.

img_1236

In the morning of October 31st (Happy Halloweeeen!), I had a nice long run outside greeted by a beautiful day. The sky said summer, but the leaves were begging for fall. Welcome to California autumn, haha. I am LIVING for all of your autumn pictures you guys have been posting. It’s so different here. I still love the weather, don’t get me wrong- but I do miss the gray skies, chill and smell of “fall” in the air.

img_1237

I worked all day on assignments, and then headed into the city to meet up with my friend, Cynthia, from my residency cohort! I haven’t seen her since we graduated from the program in March. I’ve missed her! We have stayed in touch, but haven’t had a chance to get together. As I drove into the city a beautiful palette of colors greeted me along the skyline.

img_1238

Of course, pictures never do justice 😉

img_1239

We went to her favorite local pizza joint, Ardiana’s. We have similar taste buds, so we decided to split a couple dishes. First up was the roasted Brazillian broccolini, white anchovies, chili oil, preserved lemon, and pecorino romano. It was beyond delightful. Oh my! I don’t know the last time I’ve had anchovies- but I’m allll about um’ now! The combo was perfection.

img_1240

We followed this dish with a pizza with funghi, caramelized onions, thyme, fontina, and moltinero truffled pecorino. The truffled flavor is something I have dreamt about ever since. This was easily one of the tastiest pizzas I have ever tried. Better than Pizza Antica even! I dare say it was even better than Jack Rose Libation House which before stood as my favorite.

img_1241

I stayed at my SIL, Amy’s, apartment for the evening since I was a bit nervous driving all the way home late on Halloween evening. I slept so well and woke up to this gorgeous view on the morning of November 1st.… I just love this city <3 Not a bad way to start the month 🙂

img_1242

At around 7:30 I headed toward the Embarcadero to squeeze in a run before heading home. I have been craving a run on the Embarcadero lately. Do you all remember when Annie lived here? I used to love staying at her apartment and getting up early to sneak in a run on the water. It is the bestttt.

img_1243img_1244img_1246img_1247img_1248img_1245img_1249

After my run, I decided I still had time before I wanted to head back to Cupertino. I was loving loving loving being in the city. I went back to the car, grabbed my laptop and school materials then headed to Peet’s in the Ferry Building.

img_1254img_1255

I grabbed a quest bar for breakfast and had to see what this vegan eggplant “bacon” was all about. It wasn’t too bad, but way too expensive for what it tasted like. I actually prefer my homemade eggplant strips to this!

img_1256

I was happy as a stinking clam. I just missed Kate because this is the Peet’s where we first met in person! I sent her a little snap of the table we sat and chatted at.

img_1257

I was surprisingly productive for being so giddy. I knocked out one solid assignment and decided to head home to eat up some groceries rather than spend more money eating out.

On Friday November 2nd, I had a gala for Boys & Girls Clubs. Okay, I haven’t really mentioned this on the blog yet…. but this has been a big part of my life for the last couple months. This also probably explains why I haven’t been able to get out my posts in a timely manner, haha. First, I help third graders with their homework on Thursdays. I just adore these kiddos and always get the cutest little drawings haha. Yes, I have one eye in the middle one 😉

img_1279

It has been one of the most rewarding, lovely, amazing experiences. Truly a highlight of my week! Next, I have been mentoring a high school girl and helping her get ready to compete in something called “Youth of the Year” (YOY). They choose three outstanding high schoolers from the program, they each write a speech about what the club has done for them, and then compete for a scholarship. I have grown close to the girl I’m mentoring, and when the opportunity came to volunteer for the gala I eagerly signed up since it meant I could see her give her speech!

img_1272

I chatted with her and the other two YOY contestants before, we ran through their speeches, and then just all hung out trying to calm their nerves. I then went to help out at the raffle table when the event began.

Oh, and if you are a fan of Happy Days or Holes, you may recognize Henry Winkler, the guest speaker for the evening. He was great and entertaining!

img_1260

I wasn’t planning on taking pictures for the evening, but since I was tucked away in the corner at the raffle with no one around me for dinner time (except a couple third grade twins I was watching for the evening) I decided to sneak in a few shots 🙂 I had the butternut squash ravioli. It was tasty but unfortunately a bit cold when it came out- that’s whatchya get with banquet food sometimes! I know, I worked in the banquet industry. Difficult to keep all that food warm for sure.

img_1261

For dessert they brought out a raspberry mousse stuffed cookie. This was just incredibly delicious. I savored every little bit of this thing!

img_1263

Here are all the awe-inspiring, amazing students lined up!

img_1265

She didn’t win, but to say I was SO proud of her would be an understatement. I was bursting with pride watching her speak so eloquently and confidently. She vulnerably shared parts of her life and demonstrated a courage that amazed me. It was a wonderful night. I hope to continue to mentor her in some way even though this event is over. DJ attended our church gala, and although I was sad I couldn’t be in two places at once he shared every detail with me! I will save that for the next post.  Oh, and next recap is a travel post- yeeehaw! 🙂 **I don’t have time to edit this post because we want to watch Haunting of Hill House, so please excuse errors that I will cringe at when I find them tomorrow, lol. Goodnight one and all!**

Questions for you:

  • Favorite pizza toppings?
  • Pizza or pasta? I know, I know.. cruel to make you even choose!

xo <3

submark

V. Sattui Winery & Labor Day!

Slowly but surely we are catching up!! Sadly, this is the last installment of Labor Day weekend- but it was a couple of days that did not disappoint!

After our awesome first few days together and the first three wineries (post one, two, and three), we headed to the last one of the day- V. Sattui. It is a family owned and operated winery since 1885 and was voted the winery of the year for 2018 by the Winemaker Challenge for the second year in a row.

img_3646

This is definitely more of a tourist trap winery than the others we went to- it has a giant gift shop, a deli, a park where you can eat, stands that sell gelato, among a number of other to-dos.

img_3645-1img_4480-1

Now, I have to put on the disclaimer that our experience may have been slightly negatively skewed considering we went over Labor Day weekend- but I am going to give an honest (but brutal) account of our time here.

First, upon arriving we couldn’t find parking. Like- nooo parking anywhere. Finally we found somewhere about 3/4ths a mile away and walked in 90 degree heat to get there. Fine- it’s labor day weekend, I get it. But in Napa, usually parking isn’t an issue.

Second, we got our tickets for our reservations. I had the whole day mapped out to a “T” including our dinner reservation after- so there wasn’t a ton of wiggle room. Yet, when we got our ticket, basically it was entrance to a room where you have to fight tooth and nail for a spot at their wine bar.

img_3640I will say the grounds are just stunning. img_3642img_3643img_3647-1img_3639img_3644img_3638img_3637img_4479-1

Y’all know I am not a complainer- but I gottttaaa vent a bit.

Rant time (beware): Once inside and all three of us separating to see if we could find any open areas among the mass of people, I finally found a spot on the very end of a bar for our “reservation”. We all squeezed in and were greeted by the most crotchety and condescending lady to pour our wines. For the tasting, their list is extensive so we asked for some guidance in which to choose. She basically said they were all good and that it’s an impossible question to answer (she answered as though that was the most absurd question I could ask). Okayyy. So then I asked what their most popular wine is. She said they are all popular. Okayyy. Then I finally ask what her favorite is- and she said depends on the mood. Throwing our hands up in defeat, we basically just chose whatever. Oh, and at one point we ordered a Bordeux blend, but she brought out a cab. She poured it and we asked how it was a Bordeux blend if it’s a cab and she said, “Oh it’s a cab- we don’t have the Bordeux”… but rather than telling us they didn’t have it, she just poured us something random. Hahah. Like, what?! Come the very last wine to choose, we were going to try dessert wines- and she goes, “Oh you don’t wanna try the blah blah blah (some bold red) wine?” And we all three looked at each other like, Are you kidding me?! This is what we were trying to ask her the whole time… like we asked for your help to choose best ones from the get go, now you scold us for not trying the right ones?! It was a hot mess and she was so rude through the whole thing. We will not be returning. There are hundreds of wineries in Napa- do not waste your time here! I recognize how silly and minute this issue was- I just wanted it to be perfect for momma Jill and Pete, so I got a bit heated. Also, I wouldn’t even have cared about the busyness or fighting for a spot if our lady just treated us like human beings. Just be nice, why is that so hard for people to grasp?!

After I grabbed this adorable shot of them…

img_3547

Tried to get a selfie best we could haha

img_3545img_3543

And to decompress for the madness we went to downtown Napa for a wonderful dinner at Ristorante Allegria!

img_4252img_4253img_4254img_4256img_4255

It gives off the warm ambiance of a Macaroni Grill I’d say! (One of my favorite restaurants from back in Ohio).

We eagerly dived into their bread with a delightful bruschetta dip.

img_4257

For an appetizer, we split calamari… I forgot to snatch a picture before, but I remembered when I had one little squiddy left. Hehe.

img_4258

Pete ordered their Caesar salad that was super tasty. He was kind enough to share some with us even though my mom and I also split a house salad.

img_4259

Pete also had their vitello piccata with pan seared veal scaloppini, on garlic-mashed potatoes sauteed spinach, and lemon capers white wine sauce. I had a bite of the spinach and mashed potatoes and it was all heavenly.

img_4261

My mom and I split their pappardelle allo zafferano with fresh homemade saffron pasta, jumbo prawns, wild mushrooms, finished with roasted shrimp bisque. This hit the spot!! I love the idea of using bisque on top of noodles too- I may need to try that at home sometime. One of my favorite parts of eating out is seeing different ways you can assemble different ingredients for a tasty meal.

img_4262

We headed home for the evening, but my mom gave me this when we got back- A candle from Rombauer <3 <3 So sweet. AND it is made out of a wine bottle!

img_4478-1img_4264

Monday September 3rd, Labor Day, my mom and I woke up early to go to Orange Theory to get our workout on.

img_6026

It was partner day so it was extra fun because we worked together 🙂

After, we refueled with our avocado toasts per usual.

img_4051

Unfortunately, yo girl had to “go to school” the whole day, so my mom and Pete went to do some prospecting of malls in the area (it’s part of my mom’s job).

In the evening, my mom and I went on a nice long walk to clear our noggins. It was one of my favorite parts of the weekend.

img_4265img_4266

I’m just rocking that “I’ve literally been studying and reading every second of the day” look.

After a hard days’ work for all of us, I whipped everyone up tacos!!! Bison tacos are DJ’s favorite of the meals I make, so I made bison tacos for the men and my vegan tacos for my mom and I. Can you tell the difference? 😉

img_4268img_4267

Momma Jill made us all her famous skinny margs. Gosh, they are the best!!

img_4269img_4270

we ended the evening by watching Bachelor in Paradise and eating caramel blossoms with ice cream!

On Tuesday September 4th they left super early to head back to Texas. It was an unforgettable weekend- I always say that- but truly nothing tops time with family and friends.

Questions for you!

  • Let’s taco bout this- you a crunchy shell or a soft shell kinda person?
  • Cilantro- yay or nay? Apparently some people think it tastes like soap!

xo <3

mack marie signature

Bowling, Buns, & Boba Fun!

Heyy yaaa heyyyyy yaaa! (anyone set it to the tune I did?). I have a short, teeny tiny recap to wrap up loose ends before taking off for MI tomorrow. My type A angel (or devil) on my shoulder would be severely bothered with smushing (apparently smushing isn’t a word?) this recap in with my Michigan one a week from now… soooo here. we. goooo!

^^ Was that not the most scattered, rambling intro you ever did see?

On Saturday the 14th, I attended the big bowling bash of the year for DJ’s work. It was such a great time, and a fun way to get to know his coworkers a bit better too!

img_8057

Deej and I shared a lane and alternated turns. We did horribly the first round, but didn’t do too bad the second. Guess it was the practice we had earlier in the week?! (nah, for me it was just dumb luck, lol). (We are “D” on the screen).

img_7996

Once we finally came home around 11:30 pm, we binged The Staircase and were up wayyy past each of our bedtimes.

On Sunday the 15th, I went to Church while DJ unfortunately had to go to work bright and early. After Church I met my friend, Tammy, downtown in San Jose for some vegan eats!

img_7998

I grow more and more fond of downtown San Jose every time I visit!

img_8001

I actually discovered this place through a fellow San Francisco blogger! I saw the Buddha bun in her post and couldn’t get it out of my head.

img_8002

This place is in an obscure spot in downtown, pretty easy to miss, but one you won’t want to! The inside decor is alll about that hippie life with earthly tones, calm music, and overall a general ode to nature.

img_8003

The moment of truth finally fell upon us… *pause for dramatic effect*. This magic bun cost less than $4 which is a STEAL in these parts. It’s pretty big too (there is a picture later on for reference). It is a rice flour bun (Bao) stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, tofu, cabbage, jicama, peas, and carrots. Served with a house sweet savory sauce.

img_7949In enthusiastic Kate mode I feel like there is only one way to express my excitement over this bun….

Guys!

Guys!!!

Guys!!!!!!

This is one of my FAVORITE morsels of food I have tried since moving to the Bay Area. Since EVER. Not sure what they use in this “house” sauce, but I would sell a kidney for the recipe. I told Tammy I want this for my birthday, and she joked they would just put a candle in it (My hopes are officially up 😉 ).

I have never had bao before then, and I loved it. I’ve never tried Dim Sum, but I have a feeling it would be a new favorite thing! *Cue Whole New World*

I also tried the sampler platter with Thai yellow curry, Jamaican jerk “chicken” and spicy basil tofu with quinoa. I brought back leftovers for DJ and he loved them too.

img_8005

Tam had their jackfruit pulled “pork” tacos, and let me try a nibble. They were phenomenal. I might get these next time!!

img_8058

We also split a local cider (with a fascinating history) & a rose lemonade.

img_8004

The rose lemonade was the definition of refreshing. And the cider was the greatest ale/cider/beer equivalent I have ever tasted. I want to take DJ back just to try this!

img_7952

We finished the whole smorgasbord with a piece of delicious vegan pumpkin pie over a chocolate crust.

img_8006

When I say I can’t stop thinking about this meal… I seriously cannot stop thinking about this meal! Winner winner chicken vegan dinner.

Next, Tammy noticed Tea Alley was across the street which is a place in SJ that sells boba in lightbulbs (leave it to the Bay Area to channel our inner Thomas Jefferson).

Tam made me laugh when she looked them up and exclaimed, “I just really want to drink out of a lightbulb!”. #overheardinSanJose

img_8007

It was a neat little place with super cute decor!

The moment of truth….

img_8060

It was adorable, but unfortunately luke warm- liiiiiike WHO DRINKS BOBA LUKE WARM?! Fun experience, and tam got her lightbulb. Lol. <3

This week has been more communicating with grad school trying to make sure all my classes are going to be scheduled okay, tons of cleaning, working on a present for my Grandpa’s birthday, laundry, and food prep since I’ll be gone! Per DJ’s request I whipped up the bison tacos again.

img_8048

I have one chapter of Harry Potter left- are y’all proud?! One more to gooo!

Any big weekend plans coming up?!

xo <3

submark