August 16, 2010

Mi Casa es su Casa!

This is for those of you who haven't yet seen our house. We got SUPER lucky getting this, because technically we should be living in a duplex or something smaller. However, when we got here, the only house available on the "list" for us, was this one! It's awesome!!! If anyone is headed out to the Bay Area, PLEASE come and stay with us!! We have 2 guest bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 family rooms and a 2 car garage!! wooohoo!!

Not to mention the fact that we get to see the ocean from all sides of the house. It's such a blessing! Isn't it beautiful!??? I have the windows open(at least the blinds...too cold!) every day!

From my office window...see the bay? The city on the other side is Monterey, actually Cannery Row.

From the back side of the house! The beach is a 5 min drive away. You can bike or walk there too!

We love it here! Come visit anytime!!!

Domestic Freak-Out Session

Well, the Family has come and gone and left lots of happy memories in their wake. We got to go to the beach with Cass and Dev(their first time!), explore the wharf and taste all the many flavors of clam chowder(seriously, the first one on the left is the very best), and see lots of Sea Lions!! We ate at Bubba Gumps(a must!) and had our favorite Boba Snow Bubbles from Chopstix down the street(honeydew/coconut...HIGHLY recommended). We cooked yumptious food and played fun games. I'd say it was a great vacation for all involved. We miss them already.

Devin and Me at Pebble Beach. Can you see the family resemblance?

Mom, Dev, and Cass playing in the ocean at Pebble Beach.

Cass posing as her mermaid-self...the ocean brings it out in the best of us!

Mom and Dad looking great as always!

This is the dinner Mom and I made. corn on the cob, crostini(breads), yummy watermelon fruit salad, Mandarin Orange Chicken(taste of good), and for dessert, Blackberry Coconut Cake! It was delish!

Now, I don't know if you are one of these people of not, but when I get sad or stressed or BORED, I turn into a domestic psychopath(Just ask Jonny!). I have to clean and nobody had better get in my way! hahaha, well, today is one of those days! I've scoured my house top to bottom, washed walls, done all the laundry I could come up with, made a scrumptious roast(slowcooking as we speak)and have planned on making a drool-inducing apple crumble to go along with dinner. So excited!

For the brisket, I found the recipe in the "Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook - Feasting with your Slow Cooker". I've been craving some serious BBQ but know that the "good-stuff" makes Jon sick everytime, so this is my stand-in.

Barbecued Roast Beef

4 lb Chuck Roast
1 c Ketchup
1 c BBQ Sauce(I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
2 c Celery; chopped
1 c Onion; chopped
2 c Water
4 T Vinegar(I used apple cider vinegar)
2 T Brown Sugar
2 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper(My personal touch)

My method for butter-tender roast everytime:
Heat a skillet and drizzle in some EVOO(extra virgin olive oil for all of you non-Rachael Ray-ers'), about 2 T. Pat the roast dry and season with salt/pepper(separate from what recipe calls for) on all sides. Sear the meat on all sides until golden brown; you want a good crust. Then, put into the slow cooker.
Recipe Method:
Combine all remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour this mixture into the slow cooker(5 quart, or 2-3 1/2 quart). Cover and cook on Low 6-8 hours, or High 3-4 hours until done. Recommended serving over rice or in rolls.

Now for dessert!! I'm addicted to all the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and believe me, there are a TON to choose from! Their website is highly addicting; The book I found my Apple Crumble in is called, "Farmer's Market Favorites". I got it one day when Mom Raymond and I went to lunch at Kneader's(holy 3-cheese grilled pesto sandwich is all I have to say...).

Apple Crumble

1/2 c Butter; softened
1 tsp Cinnamon
18 1/2oz pkg Yellow Cake mix
1 Egg; beaten
1/2 c Sweetened Flaked Coconut
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 c Apples; peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1 c Sour Cream
1/2 c Sugar
Garnish:  Whipped Cream

Combine the butter and cake mix in a bowl. Use a pastry cutter or 2 knives to blend the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs; stir in the coconut. Pat the mixture into the bottom of an UNgreased 13x9" pan. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Arrange the apple slices in rows over the warm crust. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples(I added additional brown sugar and a drizzle of molasses). Blend egg and extract into the sour cream; drizzle over the apples. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until the apples are tender. Serve warm with dollops of whipped cream. Makes 6-8.

If you try these recipes, let me know what you think!!!

August 05, 2010

Crazy Cats

I've come to the conclusion today, that Ellie wants to be like Ezz...except a little freakier. All day long all I've heard is the catching of her claws in the carpet as she zooms by my office at lightening speed! hahaha! Then while cooking dinner(a scrumptious homemade vegetable soup), she was attacking the wall(yes, you read right)! She is so weird. She also decided that her goal in life is to sleep on my keyboard, especially right at the moment I need it. Oh well, what's a lady to do?! I just have to type with the keyboard in my lap I guess...cats rule the house(as anyone who has cats knows).

August 04, 2010

First posting EVER!

For all you official bloggers out there I have one thing to say to you....How do you do this?! Seriously, if I had hours on my hands, I still would have issues. Am I blogging-retarded? Help?! As I've pasted and removed, typed and deleted for the past (not going to mention) hours, I've come to the conclusion that I lack in the blogging department. Something to work on! yay....

However, I do have something good to share, I am addicted to this new all-purpose sauce I bought at the Commissary a month or so ago. We tried it for the first time tonight and it was AMAZING!! It's called Mango-Coconut Pepper Sauce and it's phenomenal! It suggests trying it with fish and chicken (we used chicken tenders tonight) or even just over tofu. I've got big plans for this sauce...mainly to do with a Costa Rica/Islander theme. yum!

On anther note, I know there are some who haven't heard of P90X, but for those of you who have...tell me your success stories! My friend Amanda and I have been doing it all week and I can already see results! Can you say, "hello abs"?! I admit that my out-of-shape, flabby self has more hidden "jigglies" than I would like to admit, however after this week I've discovered more "ow!" spots than jigglies! lol! Meaning that there are muscles being worked that I never knew existed! I'm so excited!! My dream body shape would have to be similar to Jennifer Aniston's. She's not I-don't-eat-anything skinny, but rather more of a I-care-about-the-health-of-my-body skinny. We shall see. Luckily Amanda is fabulous motivation and I KNOW would kick my butt if I started slackin' off! (right???)

Well, I'm working on pics and how to get something interesting posted on here. My family is coming this weekend and I should have some rockin' pics from our adventures(also in the amazing meals I have planned...can't wait!)!