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

Advertisements

Kels and Kenz Take on the Bay: Part 5! Facebook & Instagram HQs

Happy Monday!!! Oxymoron? Nahhhh, I love the start of a week- plus there is usually a show I’m fully invested in on Monday nights- the mindless brain dessert after a long day; always a silver lining 😉 Right now that brain mush pie is Bachelor in Paradise.

Anway, shallll we continue on in our Kels and Kenz take the Bay series!

If ya missed um… here are…

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

That was all over the course of three days. Now I need a nap… JK JK…

I have been stoked to share this post with you all. On Monday July 30th, my good friend Tammy that y’all probably know well by know offered to give us a tour of Facebook & Instagram! DJ and I went to Facebook one time before for their Friday night happy hour, but seeing it during the day was an entirely different experience. I didn’t think I could be more amazed from the first go-around, but sure enough, I was!

Time to head on in!

img_2252

First, you check in and are given a badge. Everything is electronic, but there is still a friendly greeter to help orchestrate your entrance into Tech Disneyland.

img_2253

The creativity is everywhere. Put aside your preconceived notions of what a corporate office looks like!

img_2254img_2255

The HACK vending machine here has all kinds of electronic pieces you may need- like USB cables, electronics, chargers, etc. (I can’t think of techy necessities right now haha)

img_2256

In my last post from Fbook, I took a picture of the red bridge inspired by the Golden Gate at night, but I was able to capture it during the day this time!

img_2257

Can’t leave out the awesome game room & arcade!

img_2260img_2258

And get this…… all the employees do not have to pay a dime for the food across the campus. There is no way in heck I can include all the food options here, but basically they have everything you can imagine- a myriad of restaurants, desserts, snack carts, etc. etc. It’s INSANE. Obviously their employees work crazy hard, but Facebook makes sure they have the best environment to do so!

Tammy is such a phenomenal tour guide, and I wish I could share everything with you. But I will try to bring you along the tour best I can even though I can’t do as great a job!

img_2261
Burger Shack

img_2264

img_2259
Famous Teddy’s Restaurant

Pictured below is a treehouse that employees can have meetings in. Not kidding. A treehouse.

img_2262

img_2265
Smoked Meat Restaurant 

There is a pop-up shop that has something new in it all the time. Right now it has an edible cookie dough shop!

img_2263

Even the artwork on the buildings is fun..

img_2268

The design of Facebook’s campus was inspired by Disneyland,  and there are parts that are very evident of that! The Sweet Stop is one of them. I just love this storefront.

img_2267

We then went indoors to their actual office spaces, and immediately were just blown away.

img_2269

Sheryl Sandberg actually passed us at one point when we were walking through!!

img_2270img_2271

We stopped into a coffee shop called Saint Frank and had the greatest coffee I have ever had in my life. Kelsey and I both tried their almond macadamia latte, and goodness gracious- it was perfection. They have a location in San Francisco so if you are ever in the city I highly, highly recommend trying it out!

img_2272img_2273

When checking out I couldn’t resist these pastries, I asked for one of each to try expecting to have to pay for it. But no. FREE. FREE FREE FREE. Everything you want to eat is FREE! (I mean the employees are paying with their genius ideas, intelligence, loyalty, and hard work…. but stilll!)

img_2274

And they were yummmy!

img_2276

We headed up to the rooftop where there is a juice and smoothie shop called STRAW, made out of foliage constructed letters naturally.

img_2275

The rooftop is stunning, so beautifully decorated with flowers everywhere and planted trees.

img_2280

They even have these fun little hangout spots.

img_2277

Can’t forget the views…

img_2281img_2282

Maybe the highlight of the visit was seeing the famous Facebook foxes!!! Tammy has worked for Facebook for years, and has only seen the foxes one other time.

img_2278We were so excited, especially after she explained what a big deal it was to spot these little nuggets. There were two of them playing, chasing each other and climbing the trees.

img_2279img_2283

Time to go back into the building.

img_2284

We headed down into the far side of the building and passed through The Sugar Shack. We were about to eat lunch, but it was definitely tempting to try a slice of cake or one of these pastries. I don’t think I’d have willpower to work here. They call it the Facebook 15 for a reason. LOL.

img_2286img_2285img_2287

And now time to head to the Instagram headquarters! So just like Uber and Lyft, Facebook employees have the option to to use a service called On Demand. They can download the app on their phone and take these cars to get to another part of the campus (It’s a massive campus, and is on two separate sides of a road). They also have bicycles for employees too, hence the giant helmet rack in the first picture.

img_2288img_2289

Instagram time!

img_2290img_2291

The minute you walk in, there are the cutest photo ops & they have props too!

img_2292img_2293

https://mackmarie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/img_0565.mov

Where-else but Facebook would they have a “Beyonce” chair, hehe!

img_2294

Time for lunch!! We went to a Mexican place and chowed down on some of the freshest most delicious tacos and a Mexican medley.

img_2295

Oh, and we grabbed some chocolate matcha cookies that were super scrumptious.

img_2296

For dessert x2, they had lemon meringue grahams that I want every day for the rest of my life.

img_2297img_2298

That wraps up our incredible tour of Facebook. Thank you again SO much, Tammy, for the tremendous, unforgettable experience. In the next post, I’ll be finishing up Kelsey’s trip here.

Questions for you!

  • Did anything surprise you about the HQ? 
  • Are you a lemon meringue fan? 

PS. Please check your spam! My comments are still going there. I promise I’m not a robot <3

xo <3

submark

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

A little Update for the Road

Hey guys! I just bombarded  your feed with recipes… which is fine and dandy, but let’s mix it up and throw in an update post for the road 😉 I have to get this one done because if I don’t then the next one is going to be impossibly long!

I had to share these beautiful flowers with you that a sweet friend from Church gave me for passing my nursing boards. It was one of those things I just never saw coming, and it touched me deeply!

img_3161

During the day on Wednesday I went to Peet’s Coffee Shop to organize my life, which is no small feat. On the way I was chatting with my mom on the phone and was pulled over. This was my first ever ticket because apparently you can’t talk on the phone in California? News to me, but I learned my lesson. Hands free ya’ll- HANDS FREE. I was sobbing in Peet’s parking lot. Yes, I am that girl. That girl who get’s in trouble and then cries about it an unnecessary amount. 😜

Thursday DJ and I made an impromptu trip to Sacramento, CA to see the Lakers vs. Kings. Not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I feel like in California I show up to everything under-dressed. Everything! Including this basketball game. It’s a basketball for Golly John sakes. This means tennis shoes, jeans, t-shirt, pony tail acceptable…. RIGHT?! Obviously not. At least not in California. These ladies were dressed to the nines . Ok that’s an exaggeration, but I still felt out of place. I couldn’t believe I forgot to to wear my little black dress to the B-ball game, because everyone else got the memo?! Excuse my while I go polish my high-heels to watch a bunch of seven-foot men drip with sweat and exchange profanities. JK JK, I’m being dramatic, I love the game and I was happy to represent Nike.

img_3115img_3107img_3108img_3109img_3106img_3138

This couple below are the cutest I have seen in my whole life. Their 40th anniversary was the same day as the game, and they renewed their vows on the court. It was so sweet. Melted my heart!

img_3110img_3111

Also

in California, they sell Komboucha on draft at games. Just when I don’t think this place can get any better…

img_3112

I may not have the Cali outfit, but I will drink up all that Cali Kamboucha!

img_3116

After we met up with a friend and chatted for a good chunk of time.

We didn’t end up getting home until 3 am. It was worth every second. When seeing our exit road sign I felt a sense of exhausted relief, and hearing nothing but asphalt under the tires when turning onto that exit ramp, I realized this is home. This is truly our home. Rather than seeing that road sign as another directional tool on the GPS system, I saw it as our treasured destination, our oasis. We have memories that flood this place already, and I realized that at this point after five months here, this has become home not only physically but in my heart. Oh gosh, getting all cheesy now. But really- from knowing the little repairs that need done that we keep forgetting to submit a maintenance request for, to the way the wall creaks about three seconds after you flush the toilet, to the way the guest room is always cooler than the master, to our fire alarms going off every five seconds (not my cooking-system malfunction 😉 ), to knowing how to make the proper u-turns at which times and which routes to take to avoid traffic, and knowing our neighbors probably will show up tomorrow to ask for cilantro….This has become our home. And I love it so dearly.

Back to a less sappy tempo!…

On Friday I applied for jobs- I will not officially start my nursing job until February/March, which is an awkward “in between” time after the holidays. So I will be looking for a temporary something or another in the meantime!

Saturday we did our Christmas shopping!!! I LOVE Christmas shopping. I know it can usually be considered stressful, especially when finances come into play, but it’s such an exhilarating feeling when you find something that is perfect for someone. How do you all feel about it? We had a blast at Stanford shopping center.

img_3117

Subliminal message ^^^

Seeing the Christmas trees popping up all over make my heart happy.

img_3120

Does the below restaurant look familiar?! In one of my recap posts we went to True Food Kitchen. We usually like to try new places when presented the option, but this time we both agreed we had to go back to try more of their menu. It did NOT disappoint.

img_3118img_3121img_3119img_3123img_3122

We ordered the Edamame Dumplings with the dashi, white truffle oil, and asian herbs. We both agreed that they were worth every little nibble. Truly one of the best appetizers we have ever had. DJ ordered the grass fed steak tacos with avocado, greek yogurt, cilantro, pickled onion, anasazi bean, and cojita cheese. I ordered the Butternut Squash Pizza with smoked onion, organic kale, vegan almond ricotta, and dried cranberry. As usual, we were blown away! Plus, they are all recipes that I think would be pretty easy to recreate! OK- who am I fooling. I probably cannot get la comida this good.

img_3124img_3134img_3135img_3125

Sunday was incredibly busy, but wonderful nonetheless. We had Sunday services and then had a wonderful dinner with friends from Church. I didn’t snag any pictures but you have to take my word for it that the food was Friendsgiving perfection.

Something happened Monday that made wonder if pigs were flying. DJ said he wanted to learn to cook. I think my eyeballs looked like they were going to come out of my head. I just thought it was too good to be true. Immediately we cooked up a recipe right then and there. Better believe I took advantage of this rare has-never-occurred occasion while it was there. If anyone sees my husband and wants to return him, that’s fine. But for now this imposter will do.

img_3128

First we made garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes. I absolutely will be posting a recipe for this soon! I am overloading ya’ll with recipes though, so I’ll hold off on posting that one. Build up the anticipation and all that jazz.

img_3092

Then we made for dinner our vegan tacos, which may be found here.

img_3097img_3142

Tuesday morning we rolled ourselves out of bed at 6 am to get donuts from a supposedly famous Donut place called Stan’s. I think we agreed that, unfortunately, they weren’t quite up to the hype. Donut snobs we are. However DJ said their plain glazed were spectacular. I’m nutty about my Maple Bars though, and I definitely liked Happy Donuts better from the last post! HOWEVER, if you like super doughy donuts compared to the light and fluffy, you would probably like these. What is your favorite type of donut? ‘Says a lot about person in my opinion 😉

img_3132img_3140img_3133

In the afternoon I went for a long run. It was a brilliantly gorgeous day. At one of the intersections I heard a couple debating if brown rice or quinoa was better. Welcome to California, ladies and gents.😎

img_3131

DJ and I have also been doing Insanity together (workout program). Anyone else?

Wednesday, oh our dear Wednesday. Wednesday was a GREAT day, but also a bit of an emotional one. Currently we have some BIG (but good) decisions ahead of us. Hopefully more to come on that. Why not build some more suspense ?! 😝

Anyways, during the day I got pedicures with a girl I just met at church Sunday! It was relaxing as could be, and we connected so well. Also, I haven’t had my toesies done in a LONG time, so this was a great treat.

img_3139

I tried to go for a deep maroon, but they definitely turned out looking black. It’s fine. Just in time for post- Halloween season, yah? This happened with my hair once too. We won’t talk about it 😜

img_3210

Wednesday night we needed to get out, just the two of us with no distractions. This weekend is insanely busy so we are treasuring this one-on-one time now. I also was exhausted and had zero energy to cook anything. Panino Giusto opened up recently near us on Main Street so we decided to give it a go after walking around town. This place is well known for their paninis, and I certainly see why! DJ opted for their famous Prociutto Cotto Savoy- cooked ham, mozzarella, EVOO, and arugula. I ordered their smoked salmon panini. Oh my lanta, I could live on the stuff.

img_3169img_3167img_3168img_3163img_3162img_3170

My olive oil and balsamic looked like a face with a little top-hat, so I had to snap a picture. 🙃

img_3165img_3166img_3164

Now the absolute best part of this post- Wednesday our niece was born!! She is absolutely perfect, and I can’t wait to meet her <3 We will see her over Christmas! We love you dearly from afar baby Kate. Love Aunt Kenzie and Uncle DJ <3 <3

img_3197

Today we went to our sister’s (DJs side) volleyball game! She is a champion!!!! Woohoo! I should have snagged pictures, but there was too excitement in the moment to even think of it. After we were going to head straight home but the traffic was going to be insane. We decided to grab dinner somewhere in Palo Alto. Sam’s Chowder house has an award winning lobster roll and was voted the best seafood restaurant in the Bay area by the San Francisco A list, so, naturally……..

img_3199img_3198img_3203img_3202

I tried the Seafood Risotto. It has bay scallops, calamari, bay shrimp, mussels, Manila clams, pumpkin puréed risotto, lobster broth, and tomato. I have leftover sitting in the fridge and I cannot wait to dig in tomorrow for lunch.

img_3200

DJ had the lobster roll, and you better believe I had a big bite. Yep, this made all our lobster roll dreams come true until the end of time.

img_3201

Oh me. Oh my. I could eat this till I die. It was just pure lobstery bliss.

That’s all I have folks. Not a super eventful week (besides my niece being born, which is the greatest thing ever), but anyway a lot of processing… figuring things out.. trying to see where this whole thing called life is going.

I am thankful for the adventure. Thanks for sharing in it with us.

xo <3

Mack

Vegan Tacos

So I made Tacos for the first time last week. I know, I know. Super late to that fiesta. Anywho, they smelled sooo good so I decided to whip up a vegan (vegetarian) version. I say vegetarian because the only non-vegan ingredient is the Chobani which acts as sour cream. This could easily be replaced with a vegan sour cream!

img_3127-1img_3095img_3096img_3098img_3097img_3142img_3061

My husband said he didn’t know if he liked these or the or regular beef tacos better. This is coming from a non veg-head, ya’ll. So that alone says just how delish they are 😉

Grocery List:

  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium White Onion
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper
  • 11 oz. Beyond Meat Beef (Feisty Crumble)- I bet Boca Crumbles would work well too (Thank you Heather for the suggestion!)
  • Daiya cheese Classic Blend
  • (1) 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • Tomatoes (I like to use Wild Wonders, but any will do!)
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Taco Shell of Choice (hard, soft, or butter/bibb lettuce)
  • Plain Chobani or vegan sour cream of choice **Optional
  • Cilantro *Optional

        Taco Mix

  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Wash all produce
  2. Dice onion
  3. Thinly slice and dice jalapeño
  4. Dice tomato and thinly shred lettuce
  5. Make taco mix
  6. In a large skillet, add 1 TBSP of Olive Oil over medium-high heat
  7. Add the onion and jalapeño, sautee until white onion and jalapeño are soft and fragrant (may take about 6-10 minutes)
  8. Stir in the beyond beef until evenly mixed with the onion and pepper.
  9. Stir in tomato sauce
  10. Allow the tomato sauce to evaporate and absorb into the meat, while stirring occasionally- may take up to 20-25 minutes
  11. When all tomato sauce is absorbed, add about 3 TBSP of taco seasoning and stir evenly
  12. Plate your taco shells/lettuce as desired (some may recommend heating in the oven prior)
  13. Add cheese first (Reason: with vegan cheese it is harder to melt, so add some on the bottom of the shell first and the hot “meat” melts it)
  14. Add taco meat on top
  15. Top with lettuce, tomato, cilantro, and “sour cream” if desired

Nutrition (per serving, 8 servings total)* Using Beyond beef, 1 TBSP chobani, 1/4 cup of Daiya cheese, and no shell per taco

Calories: 221

Protein: 13g

Carbs: 16g

Fiber: 3g

Sugar: 4g

Fat: 11.5g

Enjoy 🙂

xo <3

Mack

Halloween Festivities and a little bit of everything else

Long time, no see!!! I have been so busy studying the last couple weeks that I haven’t been able to do a recap post. I am finally snagging a couple minutes now to draft something out before bed. And you may just get the rough draft because I don’t think I have time to edit- so in advance I apologize for the misspellings, the grammatical errors, run-ons, and fragments.

First things first per usual: Thank you to everyone for those sweet, sweet thoughts and words on my last post. As I told many I didn’t want to write it (or at least parts of it), but I knew I needed to. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning with all those words on my heart, and knew that I needed to share ultimately to bring glory to God for what He has done. Thank you again for everyone who shared your own thoughts, experiences, and encouragement.

Also thank you to Shawna  for her nomination for the Black Cat Blue Sea Award. I loved reading your responses, hun! I wish I could take the time to respond, but time is thin lately! However, if you guys get a chance, check out this wonderful girl’s place on the web <3

ANDDDDD Guess what?! I finally took my nursing boards (yesterday morning), and can officially put the books away, at least for a bit. I actually received my approval right after my last update post and cried tears of joy. FINALLY. After seven months, seven long months, I could finally take this stinking test. But, really, who gets that excited to take a test?! Pathetic I tell ya. I won’t find out if I officially passed them for a while, but I’m feeling okay about it. This could be really mortifying if I didn’t pass and I have to publicly announce it to about five hundred people- oh well! We will see. Positive thinking right?!

Time to rewind to October 6th. Yes it has been that long. No worries, guys, I have all the food pics. Because, like the last couple posts, all I have done is eat and study.

For DJ’s birthday dinner he wanted to do something relaxing that didn’t involve getting dressed up and didn’t involve facing traffic. We decided to try out Eureka, a place on Main Street that people rave about. Worth the rave- it was maybe my favorite place we tried on the strip.

img_1485

For an appetizer we split some bruschetta. It was yumm. Anything with a good goat cheese and a good balsamic vinegar is destined to satisfy ya.

img_1483

DJ ordered these insane little boogers. These are lobster tacos with cabbage, saffron crema, watermelon radish, and signature handcut fries. I feel like he inevitably chooses the better dish. Don’t get me wrong, I always love my meals, but I always tend to like his a touch better than what I order. The grass is always greener on the other side of the dinner table. Or maybe less green, because I tend to get a lot of salads. Anyways ..

img_1484

I did make a good move by getting these sweet potato fries. UGH they were perfection. I ordered the veggie beet burger over greens. It just sounded so strange; I had to get it. It was super delicious and filling. Them fries though….

img_1482

Friday and Saturday was the women’s conference through my church. The theme was “Wisdom”. Lord knows I need more of it. I can’t even describe how much I admire the leaders of our church. It would take me dayyys to write out all that I gleaned from just those two days. I met so many lovely new women and was inspired more than I could have ever anticipated. When I came home from the conference Saturday night DJ surprised me and had cleaned the whole apartment. This made my life. He is the best.

Back to the conference real quick: the bracelet I am wearing in the picture below is made by girls at She Rescue Home. Please check out their site if you have a chance, well worth it. They rescue girls in Cambodia from the sex trade and provide them with shelter, food, education, occupational tools and skills to provide for their family in other ways, medical care, counseling, and reintegrate them into society. That is a terse synopsis of the immense impact they are making and the expansion of what they do. The stories of these girls brought me to tears. Here are some quotes from the founder, Leigh Ramsey, that describe the situation better than I can:

“There are complex issues that contribute to a girl being vulnerable to trafficking – factors such as poverty, abuse, trickery and deception, unemployment and addiction often leading to desperation in the family.”

“But once trapped in this world of unspeakable evil, they are held captive against their will, and threatened with violence, are soon imprisoned in a world of unimaginable pain and degradation … as we say repeatedly IT’S NOT OK!”

They hand-made these bracelets for our conference, one of the tools the skills they learned through She Rescue Home, and every time I wear it I think of and pray for these precious, valuable humans that deserve so much more than the evil of this life.

img_1297

It almost feels silly to go on to talk about anything else after that, but life is a mosaic of the good, bad, deep, beautiful, exciting, mundane, simple, and silly. It keeps us balanced and keeps us sane. Can you imagine spending too much time in any of those areas? The mundane makes us appreciate excitement, and the ugly makes us appreciate the beautiful.

Saturday I was craving french toast. I have a healthy high pumpkin french toast I make every fall. It is incredibly easy and tastes like heaven. I can’t wait to share this recipe with you guys.

img_1298-2

While I was doing errands one of these days (lost track, not sure which day), I found some darlin’ little pumpkins. I would have gone alllll out on the fall decor but the studying made it so I couldn’t go out and buy all the fall things. Good thing too, I tend to go a bit overboard with the decorating when given the chance.

img_1478img_1513-2img_1512-1

Sunday after church (10/9), we went to brunch. I was craving a good brunch. It’s probably my favorite meal, and I was hitting a serious wall with studying. Brunch is always a cure all’ for the study wall. We went to a highly recommended place called Hash House. It even sounds like a good brunch place. I stepped inside and smelled the buttery toast, eggs, and roasting coffee- the intoxicating, small town, diner breakfast smell. It takes me back to Saturday mornings with my dad and my Papa at local spots in little Parma, Ohio <3 My siblings know exactly what I’m talking about. Hello, Luna’s, Mimi’s, Demetrio’s, and My Place! My family knew the waiters and waitresses by name. I miss those days. All the nostalgic feels right now..

Now back to present day… DJ ordered a Western Hash and I ordered a Tofu Benedict, because where else have you ever heard of a Tofu Benedict?!?! It hit the spot. We also had to try an order of their pancakes- we ordered the short stack. A short stack. We thought they messed up our order and brought us a large stack. Nope. That is their short stack (it’s bigger than the picture does justice). I’d be interested to see the large! Verdict on the cakes: DJ’s mama’s are better. Besides her perfect pancakes, DJ swears the Bellagio in Las Vegas has some of the best he has ever tasted. Anyone concur?

img_1287img_1516img_1515img_1518

The rest of the week we had leftovers, and just random easy things here and there. I haven’t cooked as much as I like usually since I have been studying so hard and just have been making easy things like garden salads, pizza, grilled cheese… yada yada yada.

img_1348img_1511-1

However, one night (I think last Friday?) we went to Oren’s. I wrote all about how marvelous this Israeli food is in one of my posts. DJ and I crave this place. We like trying new places as a general rule, but man, we both were just itching to get our hands on some of their hummus and pita.

img_1508img_1375

Let us talk coffee. Lately after dinner I have been loving some decaf chai tea with a little almond milk and a Graze Chia Coconut Cookie. It is the perfect treat to help relax me to get back into study mode for the night. The Mrs. Right cup was dirty, obvi.

img_1488

I have been continuing to go to Peet’s everyday. They are truly friends at this point. They bring me out samples here and there of their latest blends, and I know longer have to tell the cashier my order. I just say, “the usual”. YES, I am one of those! I am going to miss the study “grind” simply for this reason. I will probably use blogging as an excuse to park it in Peet’s for a couple hours instead now and again 😉

img_1519

I always have either a quest bar or no cow bar on me for quick fuel. When my blood sugar drops I turn hangry real quick. DJ can attest to this. I particularly like dipping the bars in my coffee. I realize I probably look like a weirdo doing it, but that’s never stopped me. I used to lick the foam off the cup sides too, but I put my big girl pants on and stopped doing that… in public.

img_1514

Now to the highlight of our last couple weeks!!!!! Last saturday our family had a Halloween party! I can’t begin to explain how fun this was, but I’ll try. I think my cheeks still hurt from laughing. I was using this party as motivation all week long to crank out the last chunk of studying I had. It was such a nice night and helped refuel me for the last few days of cramming before the big exam. Also- it could have been a hosted Pinterest Halloween party. Every single thing was incredibly creative. Ideas galore! Our sisters that I always talk about presented us with the coolest little gift bags with our names on them and personally picked out chocolate we would love. They are incredibly creative and thoughtful, and put so much time into making this the greatest Halloween party of all time. I hope we are invited next year 😉  And, naturally, we all wore costumes, and every single one was fantastic.

img_1498img_1499-1img_1500img_1504img_1506img_1507-1

DJ and I were a play on words: I was Holy Gaucamole and he was The Second Amendment. “The right to bear arms”

img_1496

Hubby being way helpful- I was knee deep in the books so he glued on my avocados for me 🙂

img_1510

This game is a blast. No matter what age you are- this is a winner! You simply wear a  mouthpiece like the ones they use at the dentist office and have to speak a phrase that you are given. Everyone else has to guess what you are trying to say. It is hilarious. We were rolling.

img_1497

Monday night I got a text from my younger sister that there was a shooter on her college campus. They received a text from the Administration that he was heading toward the baseball fields, and she was currently in the baseball field at the time. She texted me from inside a shed in the field where she was sitting with the rest of her team. Scared me out of my mind. She was okay and hasn’t heard much about the situation since… But scary stuff. 😥

I took my exam yesterday (Tuesday), and I already explained the down low on that. Here is my obligatory “I just took my nursing boards” goofy, overly excited, why am I smiling like that selfie.

img_1352

Definitely will keep you all posted on those results.

When I got home I spent about an hour freaking out convincing myself I didn’t pass, and then DJ spent the next hour convincing me that I did pass. I told him I don’t count my chickens before they hatch, and he said he counted one nurse chicken hatching. I found it hilarious. And then I had candy corn and felt much better about life.

Random small talk note about the weather: It has been getting more fall-ish, and I am loving that. It rained a few times last week, and it was perfect study weather. I love that the seasons still have a sort of rhythm here in Northern California. I was mistaken that it was 75 and sunny everyday. While I never complain when it is 75 and sunny, the respite of rain is a nice change every now and again.

img_1371-1

We are going to a gala for our church this Friday, and I have few fancy dresses in my closet to choose from. To be honest, I am not really a big shopping fan. It overwhelms me a bit. It also seems to take forever to make sure I am making the right decision and getting the best deal. I do love me some good thrift shopping though.

DJ and I hit up the mall after the test yesterday and I actually found a dress relatively quickly. The lady checking us out was so jovial. She told us she wanted to adopt us and came around and gave us hugs after the purchase. I think it was the friendliest customer service experience I have ever had. It may have made DJ a bit uncomfortable, but I loved it! After that was off the list I was in a better mood. I don’t know if I was more anxious about taking my NCLEX or finding a dress, but regardless we conquered both (hopefully!).

After that we went to lunch at True Food Kitchen. This place just opened at Stanford shopping center in Palo Alto. I think this place was made for us. The vegan options were endless. DJ actually opted for a vegan option, although there were meat options. Once again, he chose the better meal, but he is always so kind to let me take a little big bite of whatever he orders.

img_1501img_1490img_1502-2img_1491

To start DJ ordered a honey lemonade. We also split a charred cauliflower dish with harissa tahini, medjool date, dill, mint, and pistachio. I actually have most of these ingredients right now and would love to replicate it. The combination of flavors was addictive.

img_1487

For my main dish I tried the seasonal ingredient salad with tofu. This included brussel sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, white beans, pomegranate, and toasted mulberry with a horseradish vinaigrette. I would never think to combine those items, but it worked soo well!

img_1489-2

DJ’s meal was the bomb.com. He had a T.L.T. Which is smoked tempeh, butter lettuce, tomato, avocado, and vegan mayonnaise. We are definitely going back to this place! I want to try everything on their menu.

img_1495

The whole day, Tuesday, reminded me that I have the greatest family and friends in the world. Before my test I woke up to the sweetest, most encouraging texts. When I came home with DJ after shopping I was greeted by a beautiful  Williams- Sonoma spiced pumpkin bread mix baking box.The silver pumpkins in the picture is the bottom of an actual pan to bake the bread in and it came with a delicious pumpkin butter spread! Also waiting for me was the most beautiful, exotic, and ME bouquet of flowers I have ever seen. They smell amazing and every time I look at them my heart melts. I was not expecting any of this, but I was touched beyond words!

Let’s talk in-laws for a hot tic… If I had to hand pick a family to marry into it would be the DJ’s. I thank God constantly for giving me a second family that showers me with unconditional love, support, and encouragement. I can’t imagine my life without them, and they truly make me feel like one of their own. Oh no, here come the water works. Someone get me a tissue! Nothin’ like an NCLEX to make a girl emotionally unstable!

img_1494img_1492

This morning I allowed myself to sleep in until 8:30! That is a BIG deal for me, ya’ll! I also was able to go for a super relaxing ten-miler in the sun. I haven’t done that in ages. It felt so good to have the music blasting a little louder than it should, the adrenaline rushing through my veins, and feeling like I could conquer the world. I haven’t had that exhilarating of a run in so long. Lately I’ve been running on the treadmill so I can study my notes and read my review book while running. You should see my books from trying to highlight while running- it’s comical. Also- I only fell once during those ten miles! That’s success in my book. You all know my inclination for the ground.

Anywho, we have my Aunt and Uncle coming in town tomorrow- YAHOOOOO! The rest of the day was groceries, cleaning, shipping boxes, catching up on a zillion emails, all that jazz that was put on the back burner while I studied. It feels good to currently be sitting in a clean house. Oh, and I didn’t forget dinner. Now that I can cook again I made a crispy coconut curry catfish from Blue Apron. I knew this week would be busy so I figured Blue Apron would be good to have on hand for a quick meal with all the ingredients already included!

img_1535-1img_1534

Last things last, we can’t forget politics. Let’s just say our household is still #SpankyTomforPresident. Nough’ said.

BUT WAIT how about them WINDIANS?!!? LETS GO CLE. World Series, baby!!!!!

Wishing you a thrilling Thursday,

xo <3

Mack

Concerts, crazy food, and clichés

While recapping past trips is a time of joyous reflection, recaps from the present are way easier! I recapped the beginning of this past weekend in my Santa Cruz post. The rest of this weekend carried on with the same energy and zeal as the first half. Sunday night we geared up for the Sean Mendes concert. This is one of the girls’ favorite artists, and it worked out great that we were with them this weekend to take them to the show. With the show being at 7:30 in San Jose, we decided to try to find somewhere to eat dinner in that area. DJ put me on find-a-restaurant duty. I had way too much fun scouring Zomato and TV food maps for a one-of-a-kind place. Most people know of Zomato which provides ratings, easy filters to choose what types of food you are in the mood for, and menu options, while TV food maps tends to be less well known. This handy little app has all the restaurants that have been on TV shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Unique Eats, Cupcake wars, etc. It also has a road trip option that we constantly checked when we did our road trip cross country. No surprise, but the number of featured eateries in the Bay area are endless. In San Jose, I narrowed in on one pretty quickly. This little mexican restaurant named Mezcal is known for it’s Oaxacan regional cuisine.

IMG_7386

They were featured on Bizarre Foods America- for what you ask? Well this post would be no fun without a little suspense! I made sure there were normal things on the menu that the girls would like too and booked us a table for 5:30. I told the girls that we were going to hide what the “Surprise dish” entailed until it was placed on the table. They were dying to know. They swore they were going to try it no-matter-what. When the waitress came up to greet us she asked if we had been there before. I stupidly said, “No, but we found you on TV Food Maps!”. She responded, “Oh for our _____” and said the item. DJ and I both said the booming, slow motion, “Noooooo!”. And the girls shrieked in realization of what this surprise item consisted of. We ordered and waited patiently for this dish to arrive. In the meantime, one girl knocked over her water and the other lost a tooth. I am beginning to get a glimpse into motherhood (a VERY EASY taste) by seeing the true inability to predict the next moment in time. All our food came at once including a salmon with roasted veggies for the girls to split, scallop ceviche and tacos pastor for DJ, and a prawn salad with avocado and mango for myself.

 

Now the moment of truth…

These delicacies are called chapulines. They are actually grasshoppers and not too bad! I don’t know if I would order them again but we had to at least try them! Also I am not sure where insects fall in the pesca diet?! The girls were not too keen on participating in the taste test 😜.

IMG_7503IMG_7505

IMG_7508
This was the spiciest, and best, salsa I have ever had

After making sure the tooth was safe and sound in a paper towel resting in the depths of my purse, and laughing about the hilarity of eating grasshoppers for dinner, we headed to the concert! It was in San Jose’s event center just a quick walk from where we were. Talk about estrogen overload. Not only did the massive number of preteen and teenage girls flash me back to the awkwardness of middle school, but my ear drums took a beating. The concert opener was James TW from London. I was astounded by his talent. Then SM took the stage and the crowd went wild. While DJ sat and tried his best to remain obscured, I had a ball getting into the music with the girls. They seemed to have an absolute blast and that was all that mattered.

We got home super late and hit the hay. The next day was pretty chill. We slept in, I had a beautiful run in the balmy sun, and then we all had fruits and veggies with hummus for lunch.

IMG_7502

For dinner we took the girls to The Counter. I mentioned this scruptious little chain in my New York post if you want to skim the full review. I love it because it has something for absolutely everyone; from the vegan to the carnivore. I ordered their vegan burger with smoked gouda and all the fixins. The girls had basic burgers with ketchup and mustard and DJ ordered the 1/3 lb. burger with a fried egg. Everyone loved their meals and we even had some milkshakes to boot. The girls loved that they could create their own milkshakes and burgers. The milkshakes were runnier than normal which was a bit disappointing as we all love dipping our fries in them, but I think the restaurant was having an off-day. It seemed that things kept going wrong for the staff (like trays dropping, ornery customers, and the general vibe). I know from working in the industry that it’s best to just give them the benefit of the doubt. We also ordered some regular and sweet potato fries. I am convinced that these are the best potato fries I have ever had. IMG_7507

After dinner we had a slumber party at our new place. The girls made themselves right at home in “their room”, which made me very happy. We decided to watch a movie and finally settled on a Walk to Remember. I popped some popcorn and excitedly awaited the start of one of my favorite childhood classics. As it played, I slowly began to watch the film from a whole new perspective. I did not realize how dated that movie had become! I did not realize the complete cheesy, sappy, cliché plot this entire movie was built upon! They were sweet about it though and I think generally enjoyed it.

Now, if you know me you know what Monday means….. BACHELORETTE. Oh I hate to admit it, but yes, I am one of those. So to all my friends out there- no spoilers! My in-laws fly back to San-Fran later today, so we will be watching it Wednesday!

Wishing you many opportunities to try Chapulines,

xo <3

Mack