Monday, July 28, 2014

2014 weekly menu | week 31

we have been eating well lately, finding the right recipes to eat.  i think i'll make a separate post and share some of the yummy things we've been eating - you know i've been taking pictures of all things food.

this week is dead week for us.  no rock star camp, no water polo or band.  a week ahead with no timeline or schedule.  it's the one and only week this summer where the four of us will be home.  so we're planning a playdate, going to disneyland and doing some school shopping. 

summer will be over so quickly.

weekend eats
saturday: dinner at a wedding reception
sunday: appetizers at a school event and leftovers when we got home

making this week
monday: caprese paninis, tomato soup
tuesday: greek style chicken wraps, oven fries
wednesday: eat out
thursday: pizza
friday: salmon with avocado and mango salsa, grilled vegetables

the only thing i want to make this week

pizza dough - haven't made this recipe in a while and it's about time.

enjoy your week.

Friday, July 25, 2014

some things | 7.25

something to read  - me before you by jojo moyes.  i'm not much of a book critic so i won't give you a detailed book report.  but i will say that this was one of those books.  the kind that makes you miss it when you're not reading it.  the kind where you're thinking about the characters and what they are doing.  the kind when you finish the last page you sigh.  it was one of those books. 

something to make - a mini book.  i love the color scheme of this one and how all the different elements fit together.  i'm already thinking about our next getaway and how i want to document it like this.

something to do - take a hike. i've been running in the (early) morning with the ladies from our running group on trails around town.  they are all really challenging but so beautiful.  it's inspiring to run and see the sunrise above the mountains.  if you're local, try the lymkiln canyon and the aliso canyon trails in northridge.

something to eat - lychee.  i found them at trader joes and we were so excited.

something to watch - 112 weddings it's an insightful documentary on hbo about life after you say "i do". the director was a wedding videography who followed up on the couple's whose weddings he shot to find out what their life is like now.  such a great concept.

something to listen to - growing your creativity on elise blaha's podcast series.  i listened to this episode at the gym the other day and i couldn't wait to go home and make something.  i get stuck a lot creatively and it stalls me in so many ways.  i realize that i have to do something creative everyday.  it's who i am.

something to try - watercolor fruit. pineapples are popping up  in fashion and in art.  it would be fun to draw, paint and add to our kauai book.

something to be excited about - the toronto film festival announced it's lineup and guess what? the reach was picked as one of the films. we couldn't be more excited. check out the side bar for bobby's credit. looks like someone is going to toronto in september (and someone else may tag along.)

have a great weekend.

Monday, July 21, 2014

2014 weekly menu | week 30

i had the hardest time coming up with a menu this week.  it's one of those weeks where nothing sounds good.  nonetheless i came up with something.  sorry if it's a bit un-inspiring.  i won't be surprised if i change things up later in the week.  i'll keep that in mind when i go shopping today so i can stay flexible.

weekend eats
saturday: dinner at our family reunion - there was so much food!
sunday: leftovers after a late lunch

making this week
monday: turkey burgers, kale chips
tuesday: dinner out after j's last water polo game
wednesday: chicken in a crock pot, salad, mashed potatoes
thursday: salmon, hummus and goat cheese salad
friday: honey-glazed pork chops, tomato salad, corn cakes didn't make this last week

last week i made the sandwich bread which came out a little dry but good and the corn tortillas which were so easy and delicious.  but i didn't get to the rest.

this week i want to make:

  • hamburger buns for the turkey burgers.  i've used this recipe before and it's much better than store bought.
  • whole wheat tortillas for quesadillas and burritos at lunch.
  • granola - still on my list to make.
this is our last week of water polo (and driving to notre dame 6 days a week) and our first week of dance camp.  we are staying busy and enjoying every minute of summer.

Friday, July 18, 2014

some things | 7.18

something to read  - this article about slow service at a new york restaurant.  not sure i believe everything it says but i am guilty of the food photography and cell phone usage when i'm out eating.  need to give that a second thought next time we're out.

something to make - love these tags. painted or sprinkled with glitter.  i want to make some for our kauai album.

something to do - last week i cleaned out my spice cabinet.  i had things in there that i bought years ago.  here's a handy list in case you're in need of a spice clean out.  i even emptied out all the jars and recycled the containers. just make sure your bag doesn't have a hole in it or your kitchen will smell like cumin for days.

something to eat - i have to have these peach, prosciutto and ricotta crostini.

something to watch - planet of the apes.  the boys saw it last weekend and bobby wants to take me to see it this weekend.  he called it the best movie of the far.

something to listen to - have you seen the weird al videos?  they are genius.  word crimes made us laugh and think.  maybe i should start using capitals on my blog.

something to try - brush lettering with water colors.  i've been practicing my calligraphy and tried a little brush lettering to change it up.  here's a tutorial that makes it look easy.

something to inspire - “Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that – that is what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.” - Amy Poehler - read this on elise blaha's blog this week and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

real food

egg and avocado on homemade bread.
i realized a few day ago some of the changes we have made to the things we eat.  being conscious of what we put into our body.  i've been reading a lot about whole foods, real food.  reading about the connection between food and health issues, disease, and how you function on a daily basis.

proper nutrition is so important in running, baseball and water polo.  it's your fuel, your power and your recovery.  it's not just about eating a certain amount of calories, it's the value that those calories have on your body.  and don't get me started on kids' food.  i'm guilty of buying food for convenience sake, but it's heartbreaking and terrifying what the wrong food can do to a growing body.

so we've made some changes at home, most of which have gone unnoticed by the kids.

real peanut butter - no more jiff or skippy, even the kind labeled natural.  we eat peanut butter with 2 ingredients: peanuts and salt.  the kind you have to stir before you can eat it.  the kind that sticks to your ribs.  i started eating this while i was training for the half marathon.  mixed in my oatmeal or in a smoothie or on top of a banana, it keeps me feeling full for a long time.

coffee with little to no creamer or sweetener - i confess i'm an artificial sweetener person.  just one, but i know it's not good for me. so i'm going without or adding milk and the smallest bit of sugar.  and guess what?  you can really taste the coffee that way.

pancakes from scratch - this has been b's quest for a long time: find the perfect pancake recipe. every saturday morning he's looking for something new to try, adding cinnamon, lemon or chocolate nibs to the batter.  he makes crepes, waffles and french toast too.  on occasion we'll enjoy the kodiak cake mix.

pure maple syrup - with pancakes you have to have syrup.  the syrup we bought was full of sugar, additives, and flavoring.  a few weeks ago i bought the tiniest bottle of pure maple syrup that i could find afford to see if we liked it.  and we did.  we use a lot less, it's not as thick and it's very sweet so a little goes a long way.

homemade jam - thanks to grandma sue, every summer we get a new batch of strawberry and peach jam.  it's her project with the kids, although i'm pretty sure she does most of the work. we store it in the pantry and have it all year long.  and it's so much better than anything you can find in the store. real fruit and yes, lots of sugar, but we love opening a jar of grandmas jam.

water - we drink a lot of it these days.  no soda and for me, very little diet coke.  no juice, except orange.  sparkling water at dinner or water with lime and lemon at lunch.  water, water all day long.

crackers - oh this is a tough one in our house.  we are all about the cheez-its, goldfish and wheat thins. i started buying triscuits; plain, non cheesy, square shaped triscuits.  and we are surviving.  they have very few ingredients and topped with some cheese or hummus, they are pretty good.  bonus - we are eating less crackers.

plain greek yogurt - this one's just for me.  they don't appreciate the taste.  i top it with granola, fruit and honey for breakfast or snack time.  love it!  i think i will win them over eventually.

this is far from a whole life change.  we eat plenty of processed foods.  don't get between me and my red vines.  and what's a house full of children without cereal and mac and cheese?  we eat out a lot which probably negates a lot  of the good we are trying to do.

we're taking control where we can, making changes that work for us.  and we've been discovering that food actually tastes better.    hopefully it will make a difference.

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 weekly menu | week 29

made these kahlua pork sandwiches last week and they were fabulous.  i used this recipe for the pork.  i only cooked it for 10 hours but it was still tasty.  for the last hour i shredded the pork and added some bbq sauce, honey, and plum sauce to the crock pot.  the coleslaw was basic; mayo, dijion, greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), vinegar and sugar. but what made them oh so good were the hawaiian hamburger buns.

found these at target.  toasted them in the oven for a few minutes and then piled on the goodness. perfection!

weekend eats
saturday: leftovers
sunday: tortas de carnitas with my parents while we watched the world cup

making this week
monday: egg and soy chorizo burritos, fruit salad
tuesday: spaghetti and meatballs
wednesday: chicken taco salad
thursday: honey-glazed pork chops, tomato salad, corn cakes
friday: pizza

i have big goals this week making things from scratch:
  • corn tortillas - these are so easy to make and the kids have fun helping me out.  i will bake them with some cooking spray for a crunchy topping to the taco salad.
  • granola - i've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time.
  • pizza dough - i've been buying it pre-made from trader joe's but figure it would be fun to make this week.
  • sandwich bread - why not? i might try this recipe.  we have a bread maker and all of the ingredients already.  the only problem with making bread at home is that it goes quicker because it smells and tastes so good.
  • cookies - i'm bringing them to a reunion this weekend.  i'll be searching this site for something to try. i have some pre made dough in the freezer that i'll use but something else would be fun too.
if you need me i'll be in the kitchen.

Friday, July 11, 2014

on top of the world

how do you sum up the many moments that stand out from a trip?

the 1,200 pictures taken.
the songs sung in the car that have become the soundtrack of our vacation.
the chickens found in the strangest places all over town.
the unforgettable moment watching the sunset.
the impressive views along the na pali coast.
the laughter.
the fun of watching jurassic park with andrew.
the discovery of going to a bon dance.
the joy of watching the boys surf.
the pain of getting eaten alive by mosquitos.
the cups of salt water swallowed while playing in the ocean.
the breathtaking waterfalls.
the sunburns and rainbows and tropical breezes.

in our house we make a movie.

have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

around here | july

mentally i am still here.

but at least i can enjoy my coffee in my hawaii starbucks mug.

and i grabbed one of these while we were there.  i love seeing some of the other cities that have cards.  will have to remember that as we are out and about this summer.

not wishing the summer away - or ready for school to start - but i love my new calendar.  i gave up on the filofax idea a while ago. completely inspired by this.

we are doing some home improvement and have recently added this brick planter and new rose bushes. plus our gardner brought out grass back to life.

spent fourth of july at my sister and brother-in-laws' new home.  we watched the fireworks from their balcony.

grabbed some photos with our new 35mm lens that we got for our trip. it takes amazing video too (wink wink).

went for a run on monday for the first time in a month.  and it was not an easy run, but it was beautiful.  thanks ladies for encouraging me along the way.

is soccer not the biggest sport right now?  this crowd gathered at the small cpk bar in the mall on saturday.  we watched the shoot out of the costa rica vs. netherlands game.  the sound of the crowd cheering was incredible.

at out house, water polo is still #1. i couldn't make it to the game yesterday, so bobby face timed the last few seconds.  they won one and lost one.  not bad.

working on transitioning out of one role at one school and into a new role at another school.  volunteering rocks.

around here life is awesome!

Monday, July 7, 2014

2014 weekly menu: week 28

4th of july sundaes
this feels like our first real week of summer.  the weeks after school got out were spent preparing for and then going on our trip.  then last week was a short work and water polo week.  but this week is real summer.

getting things organized and cleaned up around here. driving to and from water polo practice and games.  hopefully getting to the pool or on day trips with the kids.  and definitely enjoying our free time.

weekend eats
saturday: dinner out to watch our friend's band play - they were amazing!
sunday: sushi

making this week
monday: bbq grilled salmon, broccoli slaw, corn
tuesday: pizza
wednesday: kahlua pork and cole slaw sliders, pineapple
thursday: eat out
friday: shrimp fritters (from trader joe's) and fried rice

trying to recreate two things we had on our trip - kahlua pork and fried rice.  for the rice i will substitute sausage for the shrimp.

it's gonna be a good week.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

kauai: good eats

there were some culinary hits and misses on this trip.  some beautiful food and some food that was just ok.  i photographed a lot of what we ate and want to share.

we rented a house and wanted to eat at home as often as possible to save money.  we went to the local market to get eggs, bacon and coffee and then later to costco to get chicken sausages with pineapple, maui potato chips, bread, turkey and fruit.  it really was cheaper to do it that way.  and that pineapple was the best one we had all trip.

we got recommendations of places to eat from friends and used yelp to find something while we were out and about.  keiko's paradise in koloa looked like a nice spot for lunch.  the open seating area gave us the opportunity to enjoy the tropical weather.
nachos and mini burgers - kahlua pork and cole slaw on hawaiian bread (loved) and a crab cake on taro bread (not so much).

we also headed to the farmer's market for more fruits and vegetables.
this one was fun because the crowd stood at the open until they sounded a horn and then everyone ran to the booths.  kind of hectic but we got what we needed.

pineapple, lychee, mangoes, papaya, lettuce, avocado, and one cold coconut.

the lychee became our favorite snack.  they look pretty scary but they are sweet and juicy.  the lady recommended putting them in the fridge and eating them cold - that was the way to go.

we made a stop for some shaved ice but we all kind of thought it was ok.  ice and syrup?! a little too sweet for me.  i got the strawberry and lemon lime.  pretty, but we prefer ice cream.

we went to breakfast at country kitchen for their enormous macadamia nut pancake and coconut syrup.  good, but way too much pancake.

 we had dinner at brick oven pizza in kalaheo one night.  love the garlic crust.  we ordered a pepperoni and a bbq chicken pizza.

we had to try the snickers pizza.  dough, cream cheese, peanuts, caramel and chocolate chips.  interesting.

one of our favorite places was bubba's burgers.  a burger joint in the town of kapaa.  bobby and i cut out red meat from our diet about 4 years ago. so we were nervous about trying a burger.  but their marketing worked on us and we were convinced that high quality, grass fed beef would make a difference.

 and we were not disappointed.  in fact we went back to the bubba's in poipu the day before we left.

the kauai burger was a teriyaki burger with pineapple.  great food, fun atmosphere and fast service.

 there was a market by our house with a great deli counter.  we were never early enough for the fresh sushi but we did get the ahi poke with wasabi, and the shrimp in sriracha sauce, both were excellent.

 we ordered bean and cheese burritos for the kids and ahi tacos for us from this neighborhood place.

their tacos were very generous and their chips and salsa were excellent.

on most beach days we packed our lunches. turkey and cheese sandwiches, salad, lots of fruit, or leftovers from past meals.

while spending the afternoon in hanalei we decided to try a puka dog.  the menu has four steps; 1. pick a dog - veggie or polish sausage, 2. pick a sauce mild to lava hot, 3. pick a relish - pineapple, lilikoi, coconut,etc, 4. add mustard, ketchup or pickle relish.  

 the hot dog comes inside the bun with all of the toppings.  and they were delicious!  so was the fresh squeezed lemonade.

a huge highlight of our stay was taking the steelgrass farm tour.  it was recommended by friends who were there just the week before us.  at first we weren't sure it was worth the $60 per person price tag but they said it was a must - and the kids were free.  so we went for it.
 we're so glad we did it.  our tour guides, melissa and nancy, were like a comedy duo.  they played off each other and made us laugh. we enjoyed the tour and learned so much.

the most important thing being: chocolate is good for you.  not m&m's or hershey's kisses but 60 - 70% cacao or higher, minimally processed, dark chocolate.  it has many health benefits that we couldn't resist.  at $6 - $12 a bar we don't think we'll run the risk of overdoing it with our chocolate consumption.  steelgrass produces a chocolate bar made from their cacao and vanilla that runs a hefty $20 a bar!  

 we didn't buy one.  but we bought their vanilla beans and bobby is excited about making liquid vanilla at home.

loved seeing sofia's tasting notes.  and her teacher was proud of her for writing in complete sentences.

the other part of the tour was getting to taste fruit right off the tree.
 lilikoi - or passion fruit.

 sugar cane rubbed with lemon - oh this was good.

and cacao bean right off the pod.  actually kind of gross and the cacao is very bitter and chalky.

another culinary highlight was brunch at gaylord's on sunday.  it is an old sugar plantation that was converted to a museum, restaurant, and shops.

 the brunch included one entree.  ahi benedict was my choice.  (yes, we ate a lot of ahi this trip.) o.m.g. this was fantastic.  every single bite.

the fried rice was outstanding as well as that yummy scone.  it was all good. and we ate way too much.

what did we drink?
a lot of water.  even the bottles are beautiful in hawaii.

coffee on the lanai.

lattes at breakfast.

lilikoi beer at the brewery.

 blue hawaii and guava lava at the luau.

and a pina colada on the beach.

we brought home pineapple jam, almonds from the roasting company, coffee, red hawaiian alaea salt, and hawaiian seasoning, some rum, and chocolate of course.  hoping to recreate some of the things we loved.  we will lay off ahi for a while.

so much good food tied to so many great memories.