Ensenada

Our final day of the trip was spent on the beautiful streets of Ensenada.

Definitely not beautiful.

We didn’t get into town until noon or so, we were all watching the docking process from the decks above. Eagerly wanting off of the rocking ship.

This guy here was the best. Alvin was the assistant cruise director and he was a hoot!

We hopped on a bus that took us to the main drag of town. We just wanted lunch and drinks, nothing special on our minds.

Clever name huh?

We were heading to Hussong’s, apparently the oldest bar in Ensenada when we took a wrong turn and was coerced into a bar with free shots, blue shots.

It was a little iffy but the guy promised us that we would be ok and why would he lie to tourists? We really need a sarcasm font.

After our drinks we found our way to Hussong’s, imagine that.

I wanted to pop into this place when I learned that it was established in 1892. It’s also apparently where the margarita originated and it’s still standing. Did I order a margarita? No I did not, but Shawna did and it wasn’t great. Just a basic lime margarita.

I went with the timeless favorite….

The place was a tourist trap, it wasn’t as crowded as the other chain, Papa’s and Beer, that place was PACKED.

The bathrooms were interesting. The toilet paper was meant to be grabbed before going into the stall.

Very sanitary.

One drink and we were out. Then I found out that there is a Hussong’s in Vegas, WTF. We could have found a way dingier dive bar had we known that, sigh.

Time for lunch. We chose El Corralito for no particular reason than it was there and some people eating, that’s always a safe bet.

(One time long ago I got really sick after a day in Ensenada and I have some major PTSD).

You guys, the food was INCREDIBLE. Probably the best meal of the trip, aside from my Indian dishes. The sad thing is, we ordered what we normally do at our local Mexican places at home, ha. Cheese enchiladas, crispy chicken tacos, rice and beans. Can’t go wrong with those..Oh and mango margaritas…Why are they so good?

After lunch we hit the 7-11 for M&M’s because one can only try so many bad desserts in a row. Then went back to the ship.

Last dinner, last late night of mediocre entertainment.

I don’t think we ate dinner that night, but I could be wrong. I know that we went back to the martini bar for two last espresso martini’s.

We listened to some music and said goodbye to new friends and the best server in the lounge.

Then we played Roulette and probably ordered room service one last time because we didn’t eat dinner.

And that’s it, that’s the end. Well almost. We kept our luggage in our room so Saturday morning we just woke up, got dressed, grabbed our shit and walked off the ship. Our car was waiting for us and we were home by 9:30.

Reflecting on our trip, I don’t think there is any need to sail with Norwegian again. Next time we want to try Princess or Celebrity, advice welcomed. I would also like to hit the Panama Canal or Western Caribbean.

Until then, the end.

Onto the Next

We woke up Tuesday morning to a Royal Caribbean ship docking right next to us in Puerto Vallarta.

Our plan for the day was to get to Los Muertos beach, eat lunch and lay in the sun.

We walked around until we found a place that had some open chairs on the sand and that place ended up being Burros Bar.

We ordered margaritas, I had a Cadillac and my babe got the mango, and apparently it was two for one.

For food we ordered the shrimp aguachile to share, a shrimp quesadilla and a shrimp burrito. Her burrito was the best and I really wish had ordered the snapper, food regrets are the worst.

After lunch we walked down to the beach and laid out for awhile.

After a couple of hours we found ourselves ready to head back to the ship where we could lay by the pool and the drinks were already paid for.

We stopped for some ice cream at one of the ports shops, dropped our stuff in our cabin and situated ourselves by the pool.

Before heading back to our room we watched the Royal Caribbean ship depart port.

After dinner we decided to watch a show called “Rock you Tonight” It was bad, if we were watching a high school performance then it would have been pretty good, but for cruise ship entertainment it was really not good. The entertainment in general was poor. I ended the night not feeling very hot so we went back to the room and said goodnight to Tuesday.

Wednesday was Mazatlan and sadly we were only there from 7:00 to 2:00. We got off the ship around 9:00, took a cab to a beach somewhere, and then we just walked until we found a man who offered us a couple of lounge chairs for a small fee.

As we were lounging in the sun wishing for a drink, a man with a menu appeared. He claimed that him and his mom were from Cabo and that they are making drinks in the alley. Shawna and I glanced at each other questionably and then said “ok, why not?”. My babe was braver than me and she ordered a very large mango margarita…..I ordered a Tecaté, playing it like a wuss. Her drink was really good and once again I had a drink regret because the nice man never came back, sigh.

We had an alarm set to make sure we allowed time for lunch.

We walked back down the beach until we hit Joe’s Oyster bar and popped in there.

Once again we ordered ceviche and shrimp tacos.

The shrimp in the tacos were fried, and they were SO DELICIOUS!

Our time was up so we went back to the ship and to the pool which was already crowded. We spent the afternoon swimming, drinking and meeting new people.

We took that night off, brought dinner down to our room and just watched a couple of movies. Oh, I forgot to mention the food at the buffet. It was set up by different stations, salad, pizza, entrees, desserts etc. But every day one side of the entree station had four or five Indian dishes, plus condiments such as chutney and raita. You guys, it was the best thing on the ship. Every dish, each day was phenomenal. Anyhow, that is what I had dinner that night.

And just like that it was Thursday which was our last day at sea. When we woke up we were rocking and rolling, we peeked out our window and this is what we saw….

Obviously, we wouldn’t be outside so we looked at the daily schedule of events to try and plan an inside day. Norwegian didn’t have as many fun ‘at sea’ activities as Holland America did. I am not sure if it was the actual games, the cruise staff or the guests, maybe all of the above, but it was all just blah.

We wandered around, popping into the bridge.

Played a little basketball in the arcade.

We watched a dance class from the safety of the back of the lounge while sipping Dirty Shirley’s.

Then we saw the sun really making an effort so we bundled up, grabbed our books and went to the pool deck.


But we couldn’t hang. The wind was ICE. So we took that as a sign to just go read in the room until dinner.
We had reservations at Le Bistro that evening.
I opened last years birthday gift to enjoy while getting ready.

It was DELICIOUS!

We both ordered the Escargot Bourguignonne, I got the Coq au Vin and my babe got the Duck de Canard. I guess I only took one photo and it was of the escargot, so voila!

The dinner was pretty good and after we headed to Bliss lounge to watch Karaoke and that was a lot more entertaining than the rock show, that’s for sure. The next day was our final day and we spent it in Ensenada.

Bon Voyage 2022

We said adios to 2022 while cruising down to Mexico. The cruise deals lately are phenomenal, I highly recommend taking advantage if you can. Most cruise lines are now offering unlimited drink packages which are really hard to beat, if you like that sort of thing. Since flying anywhere lately is not only expensive but also a shit show, we decided to go back down to the Mexican Riviera but on a different cruise line. We were really spoiled with our Holland American cruise last year, very few people, ZERO children and great musical entertainment so there were big shoes to fill. We decided on Norwegian because it was a first for both of us, the dates worked out and the price was really easy on the pocketbook.

The itinerary had us leaving San Diego on New Years eve and hitting Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Ensenada, then back to SD.

We arrived at the port mid day and had a very simple embarkment. Unfortunately, new years eve was a cold and drizzly day, not an ideal way to start the trip. Pool deck activities don’t hit the same when it’s cloudy and cold, but we still gave it our all! Once we found our cabin, we hit the Lido deck for lunch, took a stroll around the ship, grabbed a couple of adult beverages and snagged a couple of pool loungers for people watching.

Norwegian’s selling point seems to focus on freestyle cruising. That means they give you more freedom from the OG of cruises. Instead of fancy dinner attire in the dining room at either the early seating or later seating, they have multiple dining rooms where you can go eat at anytime. While you can’t show up in board shorts and flips, you can wear pants and a t-shirt. However, I feel like most cruise lines offer that now, on Holland we went to dinner when we wanted to not at a certain time each night. Besides the two main dining rooms, there were also a handful of places to eat that were included. A buffet on the pool deck along with a poolside bar and grill. There was also an Asian restaurant and a 24 hour diner type place called O’Sheehans. It looked like a Hennessey’s but the food wasn’t great. The 24 hour part was exciting as we really needed that on our last cruise, but it turns out we didn’t need it on this one.

The view wasn’t bad.

These days the cruise lines have a few extra restaurants that you can dine at but for a price, some may have a fixed price and some are priced by entree. The Jewel, which was the name of our ship, had six to choose from. Italian, French, Sushi, Teppanyaki, a steakhouse and a Churrascaria. When we booked the trip, our package included all beverages $15.00 and under, wifi, one excursion and one alternative dining choice.

The captain pulled anchor at 4:00 and… we were off like a prom dress. Then the wind kicked in, so we bid a farewell to the pool deck and went to see how the casino was doing. Maybe we played some Roulette, and then we went to get ready for dinner and some dancing.

There were two dining rooms to choose from and honestly neither of them were anything grand and sadly, either was the food.

After dinner we chose to go to the Spinnaker lounge where the house band was playing top hits and then a DJ was going to count down the night. This would be the place we went to end each night, sadly it wasn’t anything great either.

We woke up to a new year but the weather was still in 2022.

Knowing that the sun was in our future, we spent the day playing Battle of the Sexes, Majority Rules and Bingo.

We tried the other dining room for dinner and this was a clear look into Norwegian’s “free-style” dining. Some guests did not care about what they wore, ordered or acted at the dining room. Classy is the opposite of what we saw. The night ended the same but we ordered room service and watched whatever we could find on the tv until we fell asleep.

We woke to sunny skies in Cabo San Lucas.

We were excited to head back to Medano beach and just lounge with food and drinks with our toes in the sand. That was all we wanted to do in each port. We walked around the marina, stopping for a couple of margaritas.

Then we walked through town to Medano beach seeking out The Sand Bar.

The beach was packed so we weren’t going to be able to lounge on the beach, the holiday brought ALL of the people. We were lucky enough to find a seat at the Sand Bar but then we proceeded to wait forever to be served. Sadly they were out of the octopus so we ordered a spicy shrimp ceviche, fish and shrimp tacos. Nothing was memorable aside from the view and the weather.

When we were finally able to wrap up our meal, we hit the street and got a cab to take us back to the main drag. We were going to pop into Cabo Wabo (don’t be judgy) for a drink but with three cruise ships in port, that was a HELL NO. So we asked around for a place with a good margarita and we were sent to The Monkey Bar.

This place was literally just an outside bar with about eight bar stools and a handful of tables. We chatted up a couple who just moved to Cabo and met a man who was a tour guide. We got his card for when we head back in June, hopefully he can hook us up with some fun activities.

The margs were pretty good.

When our glasses were empty we hopped on the tender and went back to the boat. We soaked up some sun at the pool, had dinner and then tried our luck at the martini bar.

Two days into the trip we knew that this cruise wasn’t going to live up to our Holland American cruise, sadly.

Thai Chicken Curry (Gang Gai Khao Mun)

I made curry paste, from scratch. Gourmet as hell you guys! It took a few stores to find all of the ingredients for this recipe but between H Mart and Ranch 99, I was able to get it accomplished. This recipe for the curry paste makes more than you need for one batch, which was about six servings, so I threw what was leftover in the freezer for next time.

From what I read, this comforting Thai dish is a staple at street food stalls, house restaurants and is a popular take away dish. It seems that they serve the curry sauce over boiled chicken and steamed rice, opposed to simmering the chicken in the sauce. Since I am not a food stall, I made it Bon Appetit style.

Ingredients for the Kalaya Curry Paste

⅓ cup trimmed and thinly sliced lemongrass (from 2 large stalks)

⅓ cup thinly sliced shallot (from 1 large [1 1/2-ounce] shallot)

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper (about 1 1/2 ounces)

¼ cup peeled and thinly sliced fresh turmeric root (from 1/3 cup whole turmeric)

2 tablespoons paprika

1 ½ tablespoons black pepper

1 ½ tablespoons ground white pepper

1 tablespoon peeled and thinly sliced fresh galangal

½ tablespoon ground turmeric

8 garlic cloves

5 makrut lime leaves

3 to 4 fresh red Thai chiles

¾ cup water, divided

Directions:

Combine the lemongrass, shallot, crushed red pepper, sliced turmeric, paprika, black pepper, white pepper, galangal, ground turmeric, garlic, lime leaves, and Thai chiles in a food processor, and process until vegetables and herbs are very finely chopped, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup water; process until mixture looks creamy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Scrape down sides of processor bowl, and stir mixture. With processor running, pour remaining 1/4 cup water through food chute, processing until mixture is smooth but slightly gritty and paste-like, about 2 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup Kalaya curry paste in a small bowl.

Store remaining paste in an airtight container in freezer.

Ingredients for Chicken Curry

2 tablespoons palm sugar

1 tablespoon shrimp paste

1 (13 1/2-ounce) can coconut cream, divided

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs), cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk, well shaken and stirred

¼ cup fish sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

3 makrut lime leaves, plus more for garnish

2 fresh green long hot peppers sliced (I used jalapeños) (about 1 cup)

Directions

Heat a medium-size heavy-bottomed pot or a Dutch oven over medium-low. Add palm sugar, shrimp paste, reserved 1/2 cup Kalaya curry paste, and half of the coconut cream (about 3/4 cup), and cook, stirring often, until curry sauce is fragrant and bubbly and palm sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in chicken pieces and coconut milk. Increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Gently boil, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers at least 165°F, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in fish sauce and salt. Stir in remaining half of coconut cream (about 3/4 cup). Remove pan from heat. Stir in basil and makrut lime leaves.

Garnish curry with jalapenos, basil and lime leaves.

Christmas

Hello strangers, happy new year! I hope everyone had a great one and isn’t sick or drowning in rain…or both.

I left you with the best snickerdoodle cookie recipe and then ghosted you for the holidays.

Christmas eve had us cookie decorating, baking and prepping for Christmas day feasting.

The kitchen was busy, we made an eggnog cake, the ‘can’t have Christmas without sherry cake’, and creme de menthe brownies.

I also made this farro salad with apple, parmesan and arugula. You guys, this salad really is the best.

The girls had to wait until 7:00 AM on Christmas morning, how terrible of us huh?

Once we were cozied up and had coffee in hand, we started the festivities.

Halfway through the carnage we broke for breaky. and then we continued with the mayhem.

Out of everything Kaili opened, I think this was her favorite, sigh.

Her relationship with spicy chips is on another level.

Later that morning the family came over….. and with a baby black lab in tow.

This is Pluto, isn’t he the cutest?

Casey and Aileen were puppy sitting for a friend, and I can say that Pluto gave us all dog fever, well everyone except Shawna, pfft.

We spent the day opening more gifts, eating, playing games and saying “no” to the girls asking for a dog every other minute.

My dad and Casey put together Averi’s new Rainbow High doll house.

We played Right Left Center and Kaili won.

It was a great Christmas spent with all my people!

Those five days between Christmas and New Years is big question mark. No one knows what day it is or what they are supposed to be doing, it’s like existing in confusion.

I took the girls to Coronado for an afternoon.

We had a delicious lunch, enjoyed a walk along the water, more puppy love and some swimming.

The weather was perfect until the sun went down, and then it was time to head home and warm the bones.

Snickerdoodle Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling

Snickerdoodle’s are not my favorite cookie, not even in my top five. So when I made this recipe, I did not think I would want them for breakfast, however paired with cream cheese frosting, they are suitable for any time of the day. With Christmas a short few days away, these are perfect to have out for little and big hands to grab.

I made these a few times, once from scratch and then I used a sugar cookie mix as a short cut and it’s just as good. Since time is minimal these next few days, get the mix and make it easy on yourself. But you do have to make the cream cheese frosting, that is a must.

INGREDIENTS

1 package of sugar cookie mix

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-4 cups powdered sugar (depending on your sweet tooth)

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line backing sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the cookie dough according to the package directions. Using a 1/2-inch cookie scoop or spoon, scoop cookie dough and roll into balls. Roll the dough in the cinnamon-sugar and then place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Let cool completely.

While the cookies bake and cool, make the cream cheese frosting.

In a stand mixer or a bowl with a handheld mixer; beat cream cheese and butter until light and creamy. Add salt and then gradually add the powdered sugar, beat until smooth.

Once the cookies are cool, spread frosting on the bottom half of the cookies, top with remaining cookies and press gently together so the frosting spreads to the edges.

Store in an airtight container. They are good out of the fridge too!

Wake up, It’s December

This year we made reservations instead of recipes for Thanksgiving dinner…in Vegas. The next morning bright and early, we headed to the Las Vegas American Outlaws chapter bar to watch the US play England.

The vibe was phenomenal.

What happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas because we both got colds while we were there, the drive home was so much fun (insert sarcasm font).

About a week later we had our yearly visitor.

Everyone this is Tipsytoes Bellshire.

Casey and Aileen took the girls for a day of Coronado fun. They made ornaments and cookies with Santa, explored the Hotel Del and went out to lunch.

They came home happy and hyper, it was a fun holiDAY!

(Why didn’t anyone brush Averi’s hair that morning?)

I was unsure of how the World Cup would look during the month of December but I gotta say that I dig it. Waking up to soccer every morning has been wonderful.

We are about a week out from Christmas and I am happy to say that I think I’m ready for it.

Cold nights, toasty fires, eggnog espresso martini’s and the WC final match….not a bad December.

Cravings Broccoli Salad with Cashew Dressing

She had me at cashew dressing.

This recipe is out of Chrissy Teigen’s 3rd cookbook, Cravings All Together and it’s a solid five stars. Instead of the traditional mayo dressing with bacon, which is obviously delicious, we make a dressing out of cashews to dress the broccoli. And the dressing is the star of the dish, it’s so good. It’s sort of like a satay peanut sauce but not… actually now that I think about it, I am going to make this dressing to dip chicken in.

It’s a little sweet, a tad spicy, crunchy, nutty and creamy an easy and delicious salad that almost hits all of the five flavor elements.

Plus it’s dairy and gluten free if that’s your thing.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

2 medium heads of broccoli, trimmed and separated into florets (about 6 cups)

Kosher salt

1 cup chopped salted roasted cashews

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 Tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon finely diced jalapeño pepper (preferably red, with seeds)

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1/4 cup thinly sliced

1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

DIRECTIONS

Place 1 1/4 cups of water in a 5 quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli, cover with a tight fitting lid, and steam until broccoli turns bright green but is still tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and then spread the broccoli in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. (Don’t place in an ice bath, that will create soggy broccoli) Season the broccoli with the salt.

While the broccoli is cooling, make the dressing. Combine 2/3 cup of the cashews with the 1/3 cup vinegar, sugar, jalapeńo, soy sauce and fish sauce in a blender until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute; add water by the dressing if it’s too thick.

Arrange the broccoli on a large plate or platter, then scatter the onions and cranberries on top. Drizzle 1/2 cup of the dressing over the broccoli, then scatter the remaining 1/3 cup cashews over the salad. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.

A Little of This and That

Is the earth spinning faster than normal? Is that why time is going by at lightening speed? Wasn’t it just Halloween and now it’s Thanksgiving, I don’t understand.

This will be a catch up of whatever has happened in the last month. My memory has been failing me lately..I made a delicious curry paste from scratch and then made an even better chicken curry but I can’t for the life of me, find the recipe I used. It’s like, poof! Gone from my memory and apparently my search history too.

I do know that we took the girls trick or treating, I remember that. It was our first time since Covid and it was a lot more quiet out there than it used to be. Dark houses and the lack of kids could have been because it was a Monday, I don’t know why we can’t just dedicate the last Saturday of October to Halloween.

Like I mentioned, I made a fresh curry paste that was super flavorful and very spicy and then made a chicken curry. If I ever find the recipe, I will make it again surely. I think I served it with coconut rice but who really knows, not me.

We took the girls rollerskating with their friends and I made the most delicious Snickerdoodle sandwich cookies with cream cheese frosting. These, you guys, are ridiculously good.

Oh and we finally made it to Cutwater Spirits tasting room. The drinks were delicious, the food was just ok. Next time, because there will be a next time, there are still so many cocktails to try, we will just sit at the bar.

I also made Chrissy Teigen’s broccoli salad with cashew dressing, and it was SO good. I will post that next time.

And obviously we are watching ALL OF THE SOCCER! The World Cup is such an exciting time, especially since we finally made it back into the tournament! Big match Friday, where will you be watching our USMNT?

Mushroom Pot Pie

You guys this recipe is ridiculously good. That’s all I have to say about it really, it’s just so good. The filling is almost like a thick soup and you could eat it with a loaf of good bread if you wanted. Pie crust was my favorite, puff pastry was good but didn’t hold up like the pie crust did. However, it really doesn’t matter because the mushroom gravy, if you will, is amazing alone.

I made this in individual ramekins but you could make this in a pie plate for a holiday dinner, it will get eaten up, I promise.

INGREDIENTS

4 ounces butter, divided

12 ounces mushrooms (I used cremini)

2 cups yellow onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup celery, finely chopped

1 cup carrots (about 1 small/medium), finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons brandy 

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

leaves from 3 springs of thyme

1/4 cup packed Italian parsley, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 package frozen pie crust

1 egg, whisked

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, then add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the mushrooms along with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every so often to release their natural juices and soften. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, set aside, and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Melt the remaining butter and add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté for about for 6 minutes or until soft, stirring periodically.

Stir in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the brandy, stock, cayenne, and your cooked mushrooms.

Bring to a simmer and stirring often, allow the sauce to thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and remove from the heat. Add in thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Taste for salt.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Divide the filling into four 8-ounce ramekins and place on a baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie crust thin and cut 4 rounds approximately 1/2 – 1 inch larger than the width of the ramekins. Spray the rim of each ramekin with cooking or spray (or you can use your egg wash) and 1/2 inch down the sides. Top each ramekin with the pie crust rounds, folding the excess over and gently pressing it against the ramekins using a fork to help seal it to the dish. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and use a small knife to poke 3 small holes in the top of each pot pie.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.

*Recipe adapted from Savory Simple

Spooky

We kicked off the spooky season with my first visit to Knott’s Scary Farm.

We went straight to an amazing looking roller coaster. The lights were all lit up and it looked like a boardwalk. The ride was so fun we did it multiple times. The downside, the exit took us into clown alley. Yes, I know that I am an adult, but I have an irrational fear of clowns…sigh, I am not proud. It took all that I had to not look them, even when they came running at me head on…Otherwise I would have cried.

We had a such good time, rides at night are just better. Parts of the park were very dark and creatures of all sorts would follow us around breathing down our necks and jump out at us. A lot of them had on shoes with metal taps so when they ran and slid at you, it made an awful sound..basically scaring the shit out of us at every corner we turned.

We were walking through a very dark area with fog machines clouding our path when we realized why so many people run in the wrong direction in horror films. You know how we scream at those idiots? Well, we were them…We had a hard time figuring out where we were and where we were headed. If was legit in danger, I would have just fell to the ground and succumbed to my death.

However, it was fun and definitely something to do again.

The girls had fun at the store trying on masks.

We hit the pumpkin patch and we made it easy on ourselves this year. We went to one in Temecula, gave the girls some money, grabbed a glass of wine, and hung out while they did all of the things. Petting zoo, panning for gems, snow cones and all of the other shit that is a waste of money.

We no longer buy our pumpkins at the actual patch which saves a lot of money. We just grab them at a local store on our way home, the girls don’t care.

Then we carve them and then they die. {the pumpkins, not the girls.}

Luckily we got a few photos of our artistry before they wilted 20 minutes later.

The next day we made Oreo bats and I realized that the girls are almost too old for these food crafts. They just want to eat the ingredients rather than create. However, I MADE THEM HAVE FUN!

These are super simple using only 3 ingredients.

Oreos, bite size Reese’s and candy eye balls. We used the oreo filling as the glue for the wings and the eyes. Pop them into the fridge for 10 minutes to set or don’t and just eat them right away.

I think they turned out cute!

The girls have their costumes and we are excited to take them out Monday night, and then go right home to inspect their candy! {aka take all the good stuff}

Just kidding, we will wait until they are in bed.

Finally…A Farro Recipe {Farro Salad}

Why have we been neglecting farro for so long? I have been using it a lot recently because we can’t get enough of it’s chewy texture and nutty flavor. This dish here though, is the best reason to cook some up.
I promise, you won’t be mad at it.

Farro Salad with Apple, Parmesan, Arugula & Fried Shallots

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup whole-grain farro

2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 bay leaf

1 Large shallot, very thinly sliced

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

2 tsp. honey

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cup lightly packed arugula

1 apple, chopped

1/2 cup shaved fresh Parmesan

1/4 cup freshly chopped basil

1/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

In a medium saucepan, combine farro, vegetable broth, salt, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally, until farro is tender and no broth remains, about 30 minutes. When farro is cooked, transfer to a large glass bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, make the fried shallots: in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine oil and shallots. When the shallots begin to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove shallots from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel lined plate and season with salt. Let oil cool.

Make the dressing: in a medium bowl, combine the cooled olive oil with vinegar, mustard, and honey and season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad: combine cooked farro, crispy shallots, arugula, apple, parmesan, basil, and pecans. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.

*Recipe adapted from Delish 

Korean-Style Beef Tacos

This isn’t a new recipe. I think this cookbook is a handful of years old but it’s full of great recipes.

I made this for our weekly Taco Tuesday for us moms, however Averi was caught eating leftover steak off the cutting board.

*This recipe wants you to skewer the meat, I didn’t do that, it was just an extra unnecessary step for this occasion.

Ingredients

⅓ cup sugar

5 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce 

1 ½ tablespoons gochujang paste

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

12 ounces flank steak, sliced against the grain into thin strips

⅛ teaspoon salt

Cooking spray

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Quick Pickled Cabbage (recipe to follow)

3 tablespoons sliced green onions

1 fresh jalapeno, sliced for serving

Directions

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Add steak to bowl or combine all in a gallon size freezer bag; . Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour, turning after 30 minutes. (Can hang out in the fridge for longer).

While the meat is marinating, make the pickled cabbage.

Pickled cabbage

3 cups chopped/shredded napa cabbage

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup rice vinegar

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Teaspoons gochujang paste

Combine 3 cups of shredded napa cabbage in a bowl with the garlic. Bring vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and gochujang to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour hot vinegar mixture over cabbage; toss. Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving.

Preheat grill to medium high heat.

Remove steak from marinade, and discard marinade. Grill the slices of meat, 2 minutes per side.

(Thread steak onto 8 (8-inch) skewers; sprinkle with salt. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness).

Grill tortillas 30 seconds on each side or until lightly charred; keep warm.

Place tortillas on plate, and divide steak evenly among tortillas. Divide the Quick Pickled Cabbage evenly among tacos; sprinkle with onions and jalapenos.

Disney Presents the Lion King

The Lion King was playing for a few weeks at the San Diego Civic Center. Since we have an avid Lion King fan, I thought it would be a fun thing to do. I have only heard great things about the show so I for one was excited. The older girls however, were not and they originally said that they would rather stay home. So we decided just Aves and I would go, of course after the tickets were bought, they changed their minds. By that time it was too late, the seats were slim picking.

After dinner and on a school night, Averi and I headed downtown. After we found are seats we had to go back up to stock up on sweets and a drink.

Averi got all sorts of compliments on her dress.

The opening moments of the show were breathtaking. The music and life size animal puppets were incredible. As the African drums filled the room a herd of galloping gazelle make their way down the aisles followed by rhinos with flocks of birds perched on their horns. They were followed by thudding elephants also making their way to the stage. Giraffes came out on the stage as a yellow-orange glowing sunrise filled the stage all while a leopard made it’s away around the animals.

All of the characters were played by fantastic actors. The hornbill Zazu was comedic perfection and the young Simba was outstanding.

It was a great show.

The second act was a little slower, more talking, less singing. Averi knows every word to the show so if something was off, I heard about it. Zazu would joke, “this isn’t the cartoon!” Which made the adults laugh and the children question why.

Averi started getting tired towards then end, it was past her bedtime. We got home by 10:30 and she crashed as soon as she hit her bed.

It was a great time and I am forcing all the girls to go to the next show.

BTS

No, that’s not the BTS that the girls love, it’s the BTS us parents love.

Back to school!

I only bring this up because we had BTSN on our calendar and all I heard was ” if you take off the N, you have BTS” followed by giggles.

We have two 6th graders and a 3rd grader (gasps)!

6th grade down here in San Diego is also known as middle school which still gives me heart palpitations.

I know I know, boy have things changed. I mean sixth grade vs. kinder really is something. Something as in, we as moms had wayyyy more power over their looks back then, sigh.

Averi is at the same school but has a new building, and she was SO excited when we got to school and found out that her bestie was in her class.

They each had BFF bracelets for each other even after a summer of no contact. SO damn sweet.

The weather has been so ridiculously hot that almost all outdoor activities were canceled or postponed. I know if you don’t live here you’re rolling your eyes, that’s ok. Roll away, it’s hot AF for us San Diegan’s, we can’t cope in extreme weather.

However, we did brave the heat and attended the Family Fun Day at the Del Mar Races. My parents met me and the girls for the afternoon, luckily those clouds and a slight breeze saved us from overheating.

I think the girls enjoyed themselves, pretty sure everyone but Kaili and I won some money.

Easing back into the school time swing. Hopefully I will have a new recipe to share sooner than later. It’s definitely trial by error right now.

Rigatoni with Ricotta-Sage Pesto

The Milk Street cookbooks much like the America’s Test Kitchen and Cooks Illustrated cookbooks are almost foolproof when it comes to ingredients, flavors and photos. Obviously this is my palates opinion but I think if you read through a few of them, you’d likely agree. After our trip to Greece I got my sister-in-law (SIL) the Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean cookbook for her birthday. It seems she cooked her way through it with raved reviews. So I went ahead and checked out the Milk Street Tuesday Nights Weeknight Suppers. Flipping through it in the car I quickly realized that I was going to need to own it, that’s how many recipes struck me as delicious. This recipe was the first one that I made from the book and if you like sage, then this will be your your jam.

Rigatoni with Ricotta-Sage Pesto

INGREDIENTS

6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup chopped fresh sage

3 cups lightly packed fresh parsley

2 tsp grated lemon zest

1 ounce finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta

salt and pepper to taste

12 ounces rigatoni

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

DIRECTIONS

In a small microwave safe bowl, stir together the oil and sage, making sure the sage is completely submerged. Microwave on high just until the oil is hot and the sage is fragrant, about 1 minute. Cool to room temperature.

In a food processor, combine the sage oil mixture and the parsley. Process until finely chopped, about 15 seconds. Add the lemon zest and Parmesan and process until well incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in the ricotta, one teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper.

Bring your water to a boil and add pasta, cook until pasta is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta.

Add the pasta to the ricotta mixture, then stir 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. The mixture should be creamy; if needed, adjust with additional cooking liquid. Serve with walnuts and additional Parmesan.

Don’t be so Prickly

We took two days to soak up the desert heat and wade in water. Good times and tan lines. We have a favorite hotel in Palm Springs but it was booked for the dates we wanted so we decided to try out the Saguaro hotel. We thought about stopping in Temecula on the way out there for a wine tasting, but decided to just hightail it straight there to be poolside.

The Saguaro is a super trendy hotel that has a retro vibe, aesthetically eye pleasing with blocks of color everywhere. We asked for a pool view room so we could have an idea of how early people trickled down to the pool. Shade was sparse so we wanted to stake our claim on a proper poolside lounger.

Once we were checked in we swiftly changed into our suits and headed down to the crowded pool. See those loungers in the bottom of the photo? One of those opened up so we dropped our stuff and hot stepped literally into the pool. You guys, it was 110 degrees out and I’m pretty sure the pool water temp was 95 degrees. I honestly didn’t think I would make it there for two days, however I adapted. We brought our own adult beverages and our frost buddy cups which was a lifesaver. They have a poolside bar but it’s super pricey and the bartenders are green. Tip 1, bring drinks and a cup. Tip 2, get a poolside room. That was the biggest mistake we made. Each time we wanted to go to the room it was through walkways, key cards, stairs and around and through and down stairs and key cards etc. EVERY TIME….That got old fast. Meanwhile the smart ones were just hopping into their poolside rooms.

We learned that Palm Springs had a two day, two weekend musical festival called Splash House. The Saguaro hotel was a location, our favorite (sold out & now we know why) hotel was a location and one other hotel were all home base for this house music situation. Luckily we were checking out the day it started, phew. The pool wasn’t big enough or cool enough for 80 + drunk people and their floats or their urine.

We spent the entire afternoon in the pool talking and making new friends. We were deep in a conversation when I saw this in a friends sunglasses. I told him to stand tight so I could take this picture. Summer in a photo.

Eventually the sun set and it was finally only 100 degrees outside. Everyone trickled out of the pool putting a period on the day. We made our way to our room for dinner.

The next morning we claimed some pool chairs and went for breakfast. We weren’t impressed but we were fed. We hit the pool and read and sweated and read. I was almost done with my book and the pool was filling up, I told Shawna I needed to finish it before our friends showed up. I ended up crying in the pool, damn book…. but I did finish it.

We took advantage of the hotel restaurants happy hour, we slightly dried off and headed in for tacos and drinks.

Back in the pool we talked and talked until time slipped away and once again the sun went down, funny how that works. We ended the night, ordered a pizza and fell asleep watching the death channel.

The next morning we had a nice lie in, and then hit a recommended spot for lunch before heading home. We were told we MUST try El Patio.

So we did and it was delicious. Shawna got breakfast but me, not me. I ordered the Del Mar for us to start with. Fresh ceviche of crab, octopus and shrimp mixed with cucumber, tomato and the sweetest mango topped with avocado and pickled onions. SO GOOD!! I asked for the trio of salsa’s (I don’t think thats the right name) but it’s not on the menu so make sure that if you visit, ask for it! Finally, I had the fish tacos and they were perfect. We thanked our new friends for the suggestion and will most definitely be back.

As for the Saguaro hotel, I’m not sure if we will be back. One thing that I didn’t mention was the music at the pool was terrible, really bad IMHO. Maybe it was the music of the DJ’s that were going to be playing at the festival, either way it was not good. You guys, that’s all that played for two days, the same playlist over and over…I wanted to go find someone and pay them to change it. Other than a handful of negatives (working ice machines were limited) it’s not a bad hotel, we did have a great time.

The One and Only Crab Cake Recipe

Ironically, two days after I post about the only crab cake recipe one needs, I see this on Instagram.

So…. I figured it was a sign from the chef’s to post this. Honestly it’s so easy and delicious, you won’t look back.

*Recipe from Chef Andrew Zimmern

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over

20 saltine crackers, finely crushed

1/4 cup canola oil

Lemon wedges, for serving 

Homemade remoulade/tarter sauce or your favorite store bought brand.Walmart Logo

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce until smooth.

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the crabmeat with the cracker crumbs. Gently fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Scoop the crab mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds; lightly pack into 8 patties, about 1 1/2 inches thick. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

  • These can be made ahead, formed or not, for up to a day.

Race You

Last week I found myself at home instead of teaching a cooking class. That lead me to cook in my free time, obviously. Although I don’t have much photo proof to show you, I did indeed make some delicious food.
Pavlovas with lemon curd, scallops with an herb chili oil, esquites (Mexican street corn salad) and crab cakes with a remoulade.

The crab cake recipe that I use (Andrew Zimmern) is the only one I need, ever. Super simple ingredients, not loaded with filler, it lets the crab shine. It’s delish!

Shawna and I hit the Del Mar races. I had some luck on my side… finally.

Winner!

It was a fun day. The weather perfect, the views even better.

Our weather has been a consistent 77-80 degrees with humidity. Leaving us craving water in all forms.

We went to Mission Bay and the Plunge at Mission beach and then back to the bay. Seeking refuge in bodies of water.

I think it’s almost time for an adult poolside day. One where I’m not lugging snacks, chairs, boogie boards, water bottles and everything else that comes along with children. More like a good book and an adult beverage!

Cowboy Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is truly addicting. When I read the ingredients for the dressing, I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. Creamy, tangy, sweet and as spicy as you’d like depending on if you’re feeding adults or children…or adult children.

The girls and I made this again at home. I went a bit heavier on the heat by also adding some cayenne pepper. I thought about adding some bacon, but honestly it’s good as vegetarian side dish.

We had it for dinner, it’s just as good as the first time.

The next day, I tore some arugula and added it to the pasta salad. I suggest trying this too!

Cowboy Pasta Salad

Ingredients

1 lb. bowtie pasta

Olive Oil

1/2 cup mayo

1/4 cup your favorite bbq sauce

1 tbs spicy brown mustard

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1-2 tsp of your favorite hot sauce

2 ears of fresh corn

2 cups cherry tomatoes

8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

8 scallions, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Arugula, if you want.

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta per box instructions, drain in colander.

Put cooked pasta in a large bowl and drizzle with evoo, so the pasta doesn’t stick together, set aside.

Husk the corn and cut kernels off the cobs. Add corn to pasta.

Halve the tomatoes, add to pasta.

To make the sauce, whisk the mayo, bbq sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a medium bowl until combined. Add the sauce to the pasta, tomatoes and corn, toss to combine.

Finely chop the green onions, add to pasta. Top with the grated cheddar cheese.

Taste for salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Baking with Kids

The second session of my cooking class was International baking. I had 4 girls, all 8 years old (it can’t get much better than that).

We started off the first week making Venezuelan Alfajores sandwich cookies, Albanian cornbread with feta and green onion. Indian Nankhatai cookies and South African Karringmelkbesuits.

Since they were only 8, they were more about the creating, than the outcome. So I would invite them to use their creativity, after we completed the recipe.

This is one of the girls hand made cookie.

Each of the girls reminded me of our Aves, she would have loved being in this class.

I decided to start each day with a different approach, than I did with my cooking class.

I would find a book on video that had a story about a country that we were going to “visit” or a food that resembled one we would be making. They loved it.

And if you don’t know about StoryLine Online, and you have kids, you have to check it out!

The next week we made Egyptian butter cookies and Lithuanian sour cream pockets.

The sour cream pocket recipe did not work, something was off…

But who cares.

Next, we made mango cupcakes, and stuffed Georgian cheese breads.

I was really excited about this next recipe.

Mongolian sesame flat-bread crackers with a cream cheese spread.

But somewhere along the way, the soy sauce was heavy handed in the spread and it was too salty…inedible

But I will make that again.

We also made a really good cheese pizza.

And a not so good Romanian Easter bread.

The last day of class, I asked them to make something from the ingredients that we had left. Chopped style. They put so much heart into it. But…

You guys, this raised my blood pressure.

I just can’t with chaos.

But, they did so great.

They all used cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

Most of it wasn’t edible.

But that wasn’t the point. The point was to give them the freedom to create, with no boundaries.

I was very lucky to have that group of girls, It was such a great experience .

Dead and Company, Food Company

We get to see Dave Matthews in less than 45 days, I think…. Math is not my strong suit.

With the Dead and Company being on tour and Dave has finally gone out to tour this summer, I can’t help but remember THAT DAY.

May 20, 1995

I went to Vegas to see the Grateful Dead. It was hot, I wasn’t old enough to gamble and I remember being so afraid of being dosed with acid. You laugh, but we heard that squirt bottles had been dosed with acid, sigh. I walked into the outdoor stadium, it was sweltering, people were selling cold fruit, and squirting people with “water”, I put myself into panic mode, ha! But, then….this band came on stage and that was that. I fell in love right there. Soooo, I can NOT wait to see him live again with my favorite person.

Last Saturday I asked the girls what they wanted for breakfast. Being that we didn’t have pancake mix (no I am not making it from scratch, eye roll). They branched out. One asked for avo toast and another, toad in a hole (egg in toast). Extra, or kids who still need to dip everything they eat in a condiment, now insert eye roll.

I made a very good scallop recipe.

You had me at spicy herb oil.

Reality check. We can combine all of the herbs, add in some salt and some spice and we could pair it with anything. Steak, chicken, fish, pasta….seriously you guys, it’s so flavorful, and fresh and perfect for summer.

To give this dish a more Asian influence, add 1 tsp of sesame oil to the herb oil mixture.

This recipe comes from Chef Tory Miller

Pan-Seared Scallops with Heirloom Tomatoes & Spicy Herb Oil

INGREDIENTS

8 Jumbo Scallops

Salt, to taste

fresh ground pepper, to taste

2 Tbs Butter

Herb oil

1 Tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 Tbs chopped fresh chives

1 Tbs chopped fresh mint

1 Tbs chopped fresh Basil

1 Tbs minced garlic

1 Tbs minced shallot

1 Tbs soy sauce

1 Tbs fish sauce

1/4 cup evoo

1 fresh Thai chili, thinly sliced

2 cups fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes

1 lime, halved

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook without turning or moving until they start to turn brown around the edges. Add the butter to pan. When melted, use the butter to baste the scallops to complete the cooking. Do not turn the scallops. This whole cooking process should take around 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and set the scallops on a paper towel lined plate.

To make the herb oil, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well.

Arrange the tomatoes on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked scallops and drizzle with the herb oil. Squeeze the lime juice over the entire dish.

Enjoy!

Cooking with Kids

A few months before our trip to Greece I landed a gig to teach a summer cooking class to kids. The days, times and location worked out brilliantly with our schedules. I was given all of the recipes for the cooking session, then I went shopping for the ingredients on the Sunday before class or that Monday morning. There is a Pavilion’s right near the school, that was so handy! The company dropped off bins full of the cooking utensils and tools I should need beforehand, so all I had to do was unpack the groceries and prep for the class.The plan was to teach two separate sessions, three weeks each. The first session was a cooking class the second was a baking class.

My cooking group consisted of 3 boys and 3 girls, ages 6-11 and they were awesome!

Each day we made two dishes/recipes. I would get to the site early and prep all of the ingredients (mis en place), the cooking equipment we would be using, and presented it on a table for easy accessibility. I wrote on each recipe card who was going to do what. Little Billy (names have been changed) will cut onions, Rose will grate cheese and so on and so forth. That way I knew that everyone was participating throughout the entire class. After a quick demo of what we were going to make and asking them about some of the ingredients, we dove in. I didn’t do any of the cooking, they did it all. I guided them, I handled the hot oven, any boiling water and the washing of knives, but other than that, they did it all. And man, they kicked ass!

The first week we made.

Gumbo, flapjacks, carrot casserole, porridge bites, egg casserole, spinach mac n cheese, Spaghetti with meatballs, and omelettes.

They were pretty good eaters. I will say that by the second week, one girl was begging to stop using onions, HAHAHA! I feel like every recipe called for onions.

When we were done with both dishes of the day, we sat down and ate together. I would bring in juice mix and they would take turns making a pitcher of lemonade or fruit punch, yes, of course it was sugar free, not my first rodeo lunatics. Then, if we had any free time before the class ended, we would play heads up or trivia or maybe just draw Whatever they wanted to do as long as it wasn’t swinging from the rafters or playing chase, boys, I am looking at you.

The second week we made;

Mash and gravy, meatball stroganoff, brussels sprout and parmesan salad, hot dogs with a veggie chili, Naan personal pizzas, macaroni and cheese and a fruit salad.

This pasta recipe, you guys, was soooooo good. I know it doesn’t look great and honestly when I read the recipe I wasn’t sold. But it’s good, guilty pleasure BBQ side dish good.

I will share the recipe.

The final week we made said pasta salad, pizza pockets, veggie sushi rolls and eggs with pico de gallo.

It was a great first round of cooking.

Mostly July

We had a low key 4th of July. The clubhouse had a BBQ and games which were fun for the kids.

Averi won a few things, Limbo and the belly flop…I think, which is so ironic.

We did some local wine tasting.

I took the girls to inflatable world which had water bouncy slides. Kaili was sure we wasn’t going to get wet.

The girls made tomato sauce for pizzas.

We went to the beach.

That about wraps up July. Aside from my summer cooking class, I will tell you all about it next.

This is 8

8!

Can you believe it? I can’t.

Smoosh face.

We had family over for dinner, cake and pressies. Celebrating Averi and Aileen who have birthdays one day apart.

Averi’s cake was chocolate with vanilla frosting but I apparently I added too much lemon zest (said the girl who loves lemons) and they didn’t like it.

For fucks sake.

Aileen got a Julien apple pie, she is much easier to accommodate.

The girls went to bed and the adults played a fun game, before we knew it, the night was over.
Happy birthday ladies.

Wolfs Tail

Yes, we did make it to Great Wolf Lodge in case you were wondering. It happened sooner than we originally planned for, aka turned into a spur of the moment situation. We decided to keep it a surprise from the girls. We told them that we were going to Grandma and Grandpa’s and that we were meeting them at the their pool. So the girls packed the night before and let me say, Kaili wanted to pack every damn thing, she wanted to give this and that to Grandma and I felt guilty as hell for lying. Come morning, we packed up the car and headed out. Passing our normal Laguna Niguel exit, luckily they didn’t notice with their heads in IPads. But when we got closer to GWL they meaning Shayne, realized something was off.

“Why did you say we were going to Grandma and Grandpa’s? Mom guilt.

We grabbed our luggage and off we went.

Our room was ready when we checked in, so we went and dropped off our stuff so we could get to sliding.

Averi’s birthday, her choice of bed. She chose the twin, no bunk this time.

We found a table to drop our shit, thankfully, that can be the biggest hurdle. If you can’t get there early, everything is taken.

We played all day.

The girls’ Paw Passes came with it all, ice cream, golf, arcade, yada yada yada. So around 6pm we went back to the room and changed and then went for ice cream.

Then they chose their stuffies, played games and then mini golf and then and then and then. For dinner, Averi wanted McDonald’s, sigh. We had it delivered (brilliance) which saved probably $125 for not eating at the resort.

The next morning we were up and down at the waterpark when it opened, easily grabbed a table and did it all again. Once the outdoor pool area opened, Shawna and I went out and had some adult beverages in the quiet sun.

Averi decided to brave the wave pool and boogie board before we went home, we were so proud.

She did so good for her first rodeo!
We stayed late into the afternoon and then decided to make our way back home. GWL is always a fun time. Next up though, maybe just Raging Waters and a motel, hahaha!

Moving On

Even though we missed the 5th graders promotion, we were lucky enough to have pictures and videos taken for us.

We took the girls to the fair as a graduation gift, an expensive one. Rides, rides and more rides, throw in some corn dogs and farm animals, we had a great time.

I got Kaili to go on my favorite drop ride with me. I also talked her into Gravitron, remember that one? That was our favorite when I was young, loud music and spinning so fast that you can climb the walls. The girls also loved it! All of us but Averi went on a ride that Shawna and I had been eyeing, we were surprised that K and S braved it with us. It was pretty intense and I think both of the girls considered tears, but once we were back on the ground they said it was fun!

Averi however wasn’t a fan of most of the rides, she screamed for the man to “STOP THE RIDE” when we went on the one that has the cars that travel in a circle and navigate a set of hills in the process at a high speed. We started backwards and she was NOT having it. She passed on most of the rides after that, braving a fun house here and there. Oh and she did the giant slide,

Her face at the end, LOL!

We spent the next few days at the pool flaunting their obnoxious pool floaties.

Shayne got an Avocado floaty but she was not in the mood for a photo shoot.

Now we are days away from July and we have two more family birthdays coming up, AND a Great Wolf Lodge stay. The fun continues.

Delayed

Our Averi is a super fan of lemon. Lemonade, lemons with sugar, lemon soda. I told her it was because when I was pregnant with her, the only thing that soothed my nausea was lemonade. I mean, I am not wrong but she probably likes those things because…sugar. Anyhow, I was telling her that Europe has Fanta Limón, well I should say that I knew Spain had it, and I was really hoping that Greece and Italy did too. I told her I would bring some home for her to try if we ran into any. I didn’t see any in Athens, Santorini or Rome. That was, until we were inside the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.

Our alarm went off early because our Uber was to be in front of our hotel at 8:30 for our 11:30 flight. I woke up to messages saying that our flight had been delayed two hours. So we rebooked our ride for later and went and had breakfast that’s when it hit us, we wouldn’t be making our connecting flight in Toronto. Fast forward an hour and a half, we were finally checked in and we were told that our luggage would meet us in San Diego. Sweet. We found a spot to grab a sandwich for the plane and that is where I found it, Fanta Limón. I grabbed two bottles, stuck them in our carry on and we were off to Toronto. Since we missed our connecting flight to Chicago, they automatically put us on another flight, but now we were headed to Vancouver. As we sat there we kept watching the screen push back our flight time..DELAYED. DELAYED, MOTHER FUCKING DELAYED. They blamed it on the galley and clean up crew, we would soon find out that all of the airlines were lacking all crew, including pilots and flight attendants. About an hour later we were finally making our way onto the aircraft and would be arriving in Vancouver at midnight. I searched high and low for a hotel to stay at but since we didn’t get our Covid tests the only option was The Fairmont in the international terminal and it was completely booked. So with that, we found ourselves a vending machine, bought some waters and cookies, found a row of open airport chairs and hunkered down for the night.

Airplane pillows, face masks, eye masks and a few melatonin later, we actually slept a few hours at a time. The security gates opened at 6:00 am so we made our way to our future 9:30 gate for our flight to San Diego. This is when when we lost the Fanta, sigh. We completely forgot it was in our carry on bag. The TSA agent felt bad and said that we could drink them really quick, and we told him they were for our kids. With a heavy heart, I took a picture for proof and we parted ways.

Everything was looking up after that and then….our flight to San Diego, the ONLY flight to San Diego was….Yep, cancelled.

The sole purpose of us leaving Rome to be home by the 14th was our girls 5th grade graduation. We promised them that we would be picking them up at school and all getting ready together to celebrate and we had surprise dinner reservations. That was when we realized that we wouldn’t be making it home in time to pick them up or even in time to make the graduation, if we even made it home at all. There were tears, lots of tears in the airport. Once we made our phone calls to our girls, we sat outside our future gate for a flight to San Diego and then decided, f#ck it , let’s drink. Nothing says eff it like morning booze. We made our way to the bar and had a couple of morning adult beverages.

Once we landed in San Fran, we had to walk miles from terminal to terminal to find our gate. At this point we didn’t’ get our hopes up, if the plane and crew showed up, great, if not, great. So we found our gate and grubbed some clam chowder.

In a twist of events, our plane was ready and waiting and our flight went off without a hitch.

After insane amount of boarding passes, we landed in San Diego at 8:30 p.m.

Can you guess what happened next? No seriously, take a wild guess.

Yep, no luggage. I mean that would be asking for too much. On top of everything, they didn’t even know where our luggage was. We had to laugh because all we thought was, thank god this wasn’t happening a day before our wedding (Sorry C and A). We finally made it home after 9:00 pm, took hot showers and were so thankful to be sleeping in our bed instead of an airport.

Roman Ending

Why do I feel like this title has a sexual undertone?

Two nuns were riding their bicycles through the back streets and alleys of Rome.

One turns to the other and says, “I’ve never come this way before”.

the other nun says, “It’s the cobblestones”.

It’s a Roman ending.

The alarm went off on our last day in Rome. We still had things to see, places to eat at and hands to shake. We strolled to the hotel breakfast which was quite good. Plenty of options and good coffee.

Originally we planned on packing some rapid Covid tests but totally forgot. We had a connecting flight in Canada which is still quite strict on their policies. We thought better safe than sorry, so after breakfast we took an Uber to a testing site. And, it was closed…so we hopped back in the Uber and went ahead with our day, silently hoping we wouldn’t need the tests.

The Vatican.

We arrived at Vatican city pretty early, but there were already loads of people lined up to go inside, hard pass.

We continued our self tour and walked towards the Tiber river, heading towards Piazza Navona.

We took a break at Piazza Navona for an adult beverage and a bathroom break.

This is when we were sure that the only people who order Aperol Spritz’ are Americans, because it’s not a good drink and the Italian’s know this.

I had a place in mind for lunch near the Pantheon but it wasn’t opening for awhile and the crowds were already crazy. So we chose another restaurant and that is the one thing I hate about myself. I need to stick to my instinct, sigh. We weren’t disappointed with where we ended up, but I know the wait would have been worth it.

Can’t stop, won’t stop the pizza!

We wandered the streets heading back to our hotel.

Taking a little siesta before heading back out.

Italy was playing in England and I thought what fun it would to be watch an Italian match in Italy. So we found a pub that was televising all of the matches and hung around that area until kick off. We had a snack and did a little window shopping.

A recommended wine bar wasn’t too far away, so we popped in for a glass. Their wine list was obnoxious, The Cheesecake Factory should be jealous.

Finally we ended up at the pub with some drinks and a very uneventful fútbol match, we finished our drinks and left at half time.

Stopping off for one more sweet before bed. We had a ride scheduled to take us to the airport in the morning. We have a 5th grade promotion to catch, or so we thought….

Friday in Rome, We’re in Love!

No alarm Friday. Our hotel had breakfast available but we decided to sleep in and then go. Making our way through the streets of Rome heading to the Colosseum. It took us about an hour to tootle the 1.7 miles.

We were hungry and for whatever reason, all I wanted was pizza. We stopped and did just that.

Cheese pull number two wasn’t as grand, but the pizza’s were really good.

We strolled by the Victor Emmanuel monument.

Our end game was Campo de Fiori and it did not disappoint.

We chose a place to sit for cold cocktails and some people watching all while mentally making a shopping list.

We grabbed some fun pasta for the girls, meloncello, and the BEST apricots I have ever had.

Then we strolled through the Piazza Navona and the Pantheon to plan Saturday’s lunch.

Before we new it, it was time to head back to our room and get ready for dinner.

Our room. We stayed at the Hotel Mozart but our room wasn’t in the hotel, it was around the corner, in another building. I filmed the experience, you are welcome.

It was perfect.

Dinner….. we planned this dinner weeks before our trip.

Hotel Eden’s rooftop restaurant is where Michelin-star Chef Fabio Ciervo works his magic. I’ll be transparent and admit that the dinner started off with some anxiety. I left my phone in the Uber that dropped us off and even though the driver said he would bring it back in an hour, I had a hard time relaxing because, what the f*ck? I don’t even know why I had my phone in my hand or why it didn’t exit the car with me. I blame my cold for brain fog because that’s all I have for an excuse.

Dinner.

The menu featured a handful of tasting menu choices. We decided on three courses and dessert.

Which ended up being a very good decision because the chef added some amazing bites to our meal.

I have to say that I have never experienced this type of service before, it’s something that I could easily become accustomed to.

Amuse Bouche.

We started off with a goat cheese mousse cannoli with tomato dust. A tomato anchovy tartlet. Grape riesling foie gras and a wheat grass spritz.

Truly incredible and we haven’t even started.

Bread with three flavors of compound butter. My memory fails me but I know there was parsley butter, anchovy butter and one other flavor. The one thing I noticed this time in Europe was that the butter has been unsalted. That never was the case before. I may need to consult a chef about this.

Next up, White asparagus, Amalfi lemon and Mazara red shrimp.

Buffalo mozzarella, scallops and dried tomatoes. The first picture is with the tomato lattice on and then with it off.

First course.

Gran Riserva risotto with Franciacorta wine, oyster and rocket.

Let me pause here and talk about this dish.

Veal broth ravioli and horseradish my way.

Never have I ever experienced anything like this before. I can’t even begin to describe it but it was incredible. The ravioli was perfectly simple and the broth, the broth was so complex and in that one bite it was magic. One of the best things I have ever eaten.

Second course.

Eel with mixed herbs and Pigeon breast with raspberry and foie gras.
I did not love the pigeon, probably wont do that again. The eel was good.

Palate cleanser of mango and coconut dried ice cream.

Deconstructed Tiramisu and a view.

We thought this was the end but it wasn’t.

A box of chocolates and these amazing sweets.

We were absolutely blown away by this experience.

Thank you Rome.

Completely stuffed we walked it off, pausing at the top of the Spanish steps. We thought about a wine bar but we were done, so we went back to the room.

Buona notte

Roma

We had the entire previous morning to reschedule our breakfast for later on our last day in Greece. More like move it to the PM (if we were smart), but it didn’t even cross our minds. So after only a few hours of sleep, we were woken by a knock the door along with a chipper “good morrrrning!” Then we stumbled outside to another amazing breakfast on the patio. It’s hard to describe this hotel because it’s unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. But it’s very quiet and you rarely see anyone other than the porters carrying luggage up and down loads of stairs. So when Shawna was all “come here, hiiiiiii” in her cute voice, I was like what is happening? But then, she arrived.

I nicknamed her Evil Eyes only because that is what she had, but she was super sweet, a nursing mama in search for food. She liked, eggs and bacon, disliked, Greek yogurt.

Our transfer to the airport didn’t arrive until 1:15 so we wandered back into the village grabbing souvenirs and a last lunch.

We had no problems getting to the airport, getting on the airplane, getting to Rome and then getting to our hotel. We booked a stay at the Hotel Mozart. It checked the boxes of walking distance to certain landmarks, had a lift, breakfast included and a cafe next door.

We were right around the corner from the Spanish Steps. Once we checked in, that is where we headed.

We ate dinner not far from Piazza de Spagna.

Wine, pizza and pasta.

Cheese pull number one! Dinner was delicious.

We decided to head over to the Trevi fountain because, why not? And it’s more majestic at night, well I think so.

We headed back towards our hotel when we ran into Giolitto. I mean by the amount of people in line, we couldn’t pass it up.

I ordered way more than I could handle. Dark chocolate, coffee and pistachio…in a cone, sigh….

She ordered almost the same but in a cup.

Verdict; the dark chocolate was too much (who am I?) the pistachio was amazing, the coffee was good.

Why the line of people? No idea, but I also don’t understand ordering an Aperol Spritz on purpose, so maybe I am getting old and it’s lost on me.

Full and tired, we headed back to our room.

Oh, I can’t wait to show you the walk to our room!! And pictures of the Colosseum and our spectacular dinner at a multi Michelin star restaurant, swooon!!

Greek Wedding

My coughing has been making my nights really sucky.

So when we woke up to our breakfast being delivered, I made it outside with barely open eyes.

But if there is anywhere to just sit and soak it up, this is the place.

We had no agenda for the day except making our way to my brothers hotel for his wedding. So we ate, napped and read until it was time to get ready. A very nice lazy start to a fantastic day.

All of us that were in Santorini for the wedding arrived on Monday, Casey and Aileen were also supposed to arrive on Monday however their travel plans came to a halt in Munich. Their flight was delayed and then canceled, forcing them to stay the night in Germany. After a lot of shuffling and money, they were able to catch a morning flight on Tuesday getting them into Santorini by the afternoon. They made it, however their luggage did not. Can you imagine? A day before your wedding and you have nothing.There was no ETA on when they would get their luggage either, but luckily they were able to go shopping and expense what they bought. Santorini isn’t a terrible place to shop, they had a lot of options. A day later Casey had new wedding attire and they had bought beachwear, luckily Aileen’s dress was brought there by a friend who’s luggage did make it.

We walked with our wedding shit, in the sun, up hill to their hotel but not after getting lost…of course. We really have become accustomed to getting a ride when we want it, and I will not take it for granted again. Sweaty and sunburned we climbed up and down more stairs until we were in their hotel room and laying on the air conditioner.

Then we popped some Champagne and toasted to the soon to be husband.

When summoned, we made our way to the ceremony.

Have you seen a more dramatic back drop for a wedding? I haven’t.

Casey looked mighty fine for shopping that morning for an outfit, his friends did good. And Aileen was a stunning bride. It was a beautiful wedding.

While the bride and groom went off for photos we made our way down to the bar for some adult bevarages.

Then they did the cake cutting before the sun set.

Followed by the most incredible wedding dinner. I can see how the rich and famous get used to this type of lifestyle, it’s not too bad.

We were served a seven course meal over 3 maybe 3.5 hours. Every bite of food was phenomenal. I terribly regret not taking pictures but I wanted to be in the moment.

Once we finished the dessert course we all got in a transfer back to the Oia village to the Hassapiko bar.

We hung out and danced until the early morning.

It was a night to remember.

Next up, Rome.

Destination Santorini, hopefully

Setting: Santorini, Greece

Reason: Wedding

Our alarm went off at absurdly 3:10 a.m.

I know what you are thinking, I thought the same thing… it’s for a vacation, that’s exciting right? Well, we all had a bad cold leading up to this, and sleeping wasn’t what I was getting much of at the time, so ya, 3 in the morning hurt. But, we got to the airport, on the first flight without any hiccups or coughing fits, thankfully. I literally had to have a cough drop in my mouth at all times.

We left San Diego early and got to NYC on time as the picture suggests. The layover in NYC was simple and then we were on our second leg to Athens. This leg was a good 9 hours and I started out by playing a game.

But after this rude comment, I switched to my book. (which is Book Lovers and as good as I imagined it would be.)

Finally we made it to Athens.

(If you don’t see this video because I am in a different country and my computer doesn’t comprehend.)

Once we reached Athens, we hit the ground running, until we weren’t. The Santorini airport was unlike anything else I have experienced. We should have had over 2 hours to play around at the airport, however that didn’t happen. Long story short, an hour was spent getting our luggage checked, and then we had to wait for a bus, yes a shuttle bus to take us out to our plane. The bus was a few hour late meanwhile we were only in the air for 26 minutes. However, we made it and was pleasantly surprised that our luggage made it as well.

The four of us took a transfer from the airport to Oia, pronounced Eeee-Uh. Our hotel was located at the beginning of the Oia(n)? village. This is the area you see in all of the movies. White buildings that look like sugar cubes perched on the rugged cliffs over looking the Aegean sea. There are blue domed churches dotted along the way, the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful.

There are cats and dogs happily sun bathing all over the village.

Once we got settled into our amazing room at Thirea Suites and Studios, and took a much needed shower, we met up with my parents for dinner.

Amazing right? Everything about this hotel is wonderful, except these.

Doesn’t look too terrible but I assure you this isn’t all of them. We counted and there are 139 steps. Let me tell you, after a week of coughing and the Mediterranean sun, 139 steps is no small feat. But it’s worth it when you reach the top.

We planned on walking through the village and down the 300 steps to Ammoudi bay however I didn’t have it in me. Not enough sleep and still fighting my cold, I wasn’t confident I would make it back up. So we stopped into a little restaurant that served traditional Greek dishes and had a nice dinner.

I ordered the Mussels Saganaki and a dry white wine (I can’t remember the varietal) and it was all really good. After dinner we popped into a little market by our hotel for some wine, water and snacks because no one wants to be left without options on vacation.

We poured a glass of wine and soaked in our jacuzzi, winding down from a couple of long travel days.

The one thing we didn’t prepare for was how difficult it is to find rides on the island. So if you come here, come prepared. There are very few taxis and even less Uber’s and transfers need to be reserved ahead of time or you’re left waiting.

I had made reservations at a winery a few weeks before we arrived. We forget to arrange our ride the day we got in so after climbing all of the stairs and coughing for a good 10 minutes in the sun, we finally managed to get a ride, although we ended up being an hour late to our reservations, but we made it.

We had four wines paired with two courses. The food was really good, the wine was just ok.

From the winery which was located in the middle of the island, we wanted to catch a ride on the bus down to Perrisa beach which is on the bottom of the island. We had to hike a ways back up the road to get to the bus stop. The bus is really convenient and a cheaper option to get around but it takes time to get from one side of the island to the other. We hopped off the bus in the town of Perrisa and walked seaside until we picked a beach bar to pop a squat. I don’t know why all the countries have amazing beach bars and we live in California and we have nothing like this.

The beaches were lined with shops and bars and they all offered chairs and umbrellas, all of them.

We changed into our suits, ordered a drink and soaked up the Mediterranean sun, literally, for hours.

The beaches are all black sand (rock beaches) thanks to the volcanic lava and ash. Hot as hell is what is was, like it literally did just came out of a volcano.

The water was chilly but it felt good. It was crystal clear and so refreshing to float in. I wish I could walk right into it right now.

We called our transfer for a pricey ride back to our hotel because we didn’t want an hour long bus ride.

The rest of the crew were all going to do a wine tour/dinner that evening, we were the only two losers that didn’t go. We had already done the wine thing and wanted to have a nice quiet dinner, but I did feel slightly guilty for not going. But they all had a good time, the didn’t miss us, I’m sure.

We tootled through the village, stopping for a couple of adult beverages and people/sight watching.

First up, two espresso martinis with a sea view.

We found a pharmacy and got some more cold meds because my cold is hanging on for dear life. Then we ran into this cute place with an amazing drink menu.

We found a bench and just soaked up the fact that we were in Greece.

Back to dinner, you guys, this meal was incredible.

We started off with grilled octopus with fava bean puree.

Ridiculous.

Then we both ordered risotto.

Me, pistachio risotto with sea bass. Her, wild mushroom with smoked bacon risotto with truffle oil.

Again, so so good.

For dessert, creme brûlée.

Completely satisfied, we walked back up more f*cking stairs.

And made our way back to our room, where we once again soaked in the jacuzzi until sleep beckoned us.

Tomorrow I hear there is a wedding. Although, it didn’t start of very pleasant for the happy couple. More on that next time.

καληνυχτα (good night)

Dump to Catch up!

It’s been a hot minute. Busy with school, life and colds going around, it’s been something.

Legit pharmacy.

Finally we are all on the mend, so let’s chat.

The girls had their school’s multicultural fair on campus and it was so nice to be back on site.

Averi and her bestie ran around getting their passports stamped all while chasing the boys.

Kaili and Shayne were doing their own thing, in Shayne’s words, “living her best life”. Which meant hobnobbing with her teacher whom she adores.

It was nice to talk to the teachers we haven’t seen face to face in forever, and get to know the new ones better, even though schools about to end.

I can’t believe the older two are saying farewell to their school. It’s bittersweet.

Here they are in Kindergarten, so cute and innocent.

On another note, one thing that I have been cooking lately is baby bok choy. I have neglected this vegetable. It’s super quick and simple to cook up and is so tasty. I just halve the bok choy, sauté in some sesame oil with garlic. Add soy sauce and chili crisp then cook until tender, around 10-12 minutes.

One night we paired it with a chicken curry and another time with steak. Don’t walk by it the next time you’re at the market.

Now it’s time get back to finalizing a little jaunt that’s in our future. I can’t wait to share all of the sights, food, fun, food, wine and food with y’all.

I leave you with Spring photos.

Pan Seared Salmon with Arugula and Avocado

Simple ingredients come together super quick in this recipe. The flavors of the peppery arugula, the buttery salmon and the acidic dressing, play very well together. Definitely a weeknight dinner to put on repeat.

I used Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar in lieu of Parmesan, just because I wanted to. The addition of mustard to a vinaigrette acts as an emulsifier, and keeps the oil and vinegar together with a creamy consistency. Don’t forget to season your vinaigrette before dressing your greens.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 Salmon filets, preferably wild

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups baby arugula

1 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving

1 tsp Dijon mustard

crumbled parmesan cheese (or any sharp cheese that you prefer)

1/2 ripe Hass avocado, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 tomato, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

 Pat the salmon filets dry with a paper towel. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add salmon filets skin side-down. Immediately reduce heat to medium, medium low depending on your stove. Cook, pressing gently on back of filets to ensure good contact with skin, until skin is rendered and crisp, about 6 minutes. If skin shows resistance when attempting to lift with a spatula, allow it to continue to cook until it lifts easily.

While the first side of the salmon cooks, whisk lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and the mustard in small bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Flip salmon and cook on second side for another minute or two, or to your desired doneness. I like my salmon close to medium rare/medium at 125 to 130 degrees.

Plate the arugula and top with avocado and tomatoes, dress with the vinaigrette. Crumble on your chosen cheese, place salmon on bed of salad and serve with lemon wedge.

Enjoy!

*Double recipe for 4 servings

Food

We have a trip coming up and we are counting down the days. We spent a morning running errands and then had a really good lunch at Puesto, although their prices have skyrocketed and I am not really eager to go back.

However, their mango, passionfruit and shrimp ceviche was phenom. It also had avocado, tamarind and chili crunch. So good.

We picked up some reading material for our travel time, I am so eager to start Book Lovers, so I hid the books in my suitcase. Maybe I will forget about it until I board the plane.

We didn’t even know that FoodieLand was a thing until it came across our Instagram feed. Obviously we had to check it out. It was held at the Del Mar fairgrounds on a beautiful weekend. We got there when it opened, thankfully, because people poured in and in and in. There were over 150 vendors of food and drink, there were sporadicly placed underwhelming bars and two live stages. The entrance dropped us off in the paddock where benches were set up on the grass facing a stage. However, since it was quite warm, everyone had already grabbed the very few surrounding tables in the shade, smart.

We stopped and ordered a beverage and took a lap around scouring our options. I am going to come right out and say it, totally underwhelming. I mean, they had everything you could think of, well except a lobster roll. Wings, noodles, musubi, grilled lobster, dim sum, Ube desserts, oysters, cotton candy, grilled cheese, Indonesian satay, which I really wanted, but not bad enough to wait in a 30 minute line. Anyhow, you catch my drift. Even with all of these options, nothing really jumped out at us. We ended up getting the fried potato twister and some dumplings. They were both good but the potatoes were heavily salted.

Between the terrible band on stage and the beating down sun, we decided to walk back to the paddock. We sat in the 17 hands bar for another drink, and listened to a less awful, Michael Bublé.

Then we headed back out for another lap around the place.

And we landed here.

We chose the Chocolate Chip Martini, the Lemon Drop Martini and the Southern Gentlemen, which was my favorite. But they were all good. Smart little business idea.

As time went on, the crowd grew excessively so we swung by the churro stand and also stopped for some pollo chicharrones, then we headed home.

We had just enough time to recover from our food coma before we headed back out to watch the Galaxy match.

We met my brother and a few of his friends at a brewery to watch the game. The beer was good, the game, not so much.

Mother’s Day

We spent Mother’s day on Saturday to avoid the chaos that Sunday would have brought. Brunch was in Old Town and in typical fashion, everyone ate too many chips, but the margaritas were delish.

After brunch we took the girls swimming, you know, to tire them out. We finished the night watching A Christmas Story with pizza.

I was spoilt.

This egg cooker is AMAZING. Hard boiled eggs in less than 10 minutes, soft boiled in even less. AND no “watched pot never boils” situation.

It came with a mini griddle. I used it Sunday morning to make pancakes. I was blown away. Easy, perfect little pancakes, no mess and the kids ate them up.

But then, while getting sugar out of the pantry we realized that ants had invaded THE ENTIRE PANTRY. There was no solution aside from taking everything out and spraying, so happy Mother’s day to me, I now had some real fun ahead of me.


Half a day later, I ordered groceries via InstaCart, because taking the kids to the store was just too much.

So much work….. but it looks so much better.

Once I was done I took the girls to the pool. They were begging to go all day and guess what, they lasted less than an hour. I mean… of course they did.