Monday, June 4, 2012

A Day in the Life

Hi Friends! I hope you all had a great weekend and are ready for the week ahead. I thought I'd do a little post today to show you some pictures from my everyday life. I have been so inspired by the little things lately and have enjoyed snapping moments here and there. I thought it would be fun to share.

Playing Hide and Seek.


I've got a craving for this.


Waving to the ice cream truck.


Playgroup snack.


Dreaming about cutting my hair like this, but I'm too chicken to take off more than an inch.


Our favorite snack currently, Justin Nut Butter (especially the Maple & Chocolate Almond Butter flavors), straight from the packet.


I think Aidan and I look like twins here.


Coffee and cars.


 View from the inside of our tent.


Making homemade popsicles - yogurt, honey, berries or bananas, freeze. Yum!


Mark and I had a contest to see how fast we could run a mile. 9:00 minutes for me, 7:25 for Mark.


A rare Happy Hour moment.


Ricotta Banana Blueberry Pancakes!


Happy Monday!

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Favorites!


Hi Friends! Can you believe it's the end of May? I'm so excited because it feels like summer is here. My absolute favorite time of year. We've been going on family bike rides, making and eating homemade popsicles, going to the farmer's markets, adventuring out camping (recap to come soon!) and went to a baseball game last night. All things quintessentially summer and it's just the start. My heart is full and my feet are very warm!

Some fun things I've found to share with you...

Magic one ingredient ice cream, 5 ways!

Read this when you don't feel good enough.

Oh man, this is so true!

Yum!

Dreaming of this beautiful bed for summer nights without an AC in our home. I just gotta have the covers on regardless.

Sometimes Mark and I dream of having a little farm. When I dream, it looks like this.

I much prefer this response to the infamous Time cover and article.

Fancy hotdogs!

Loved this article on raising a son (I think it applies for daughters too!)

Creative ideas for mixing up leftovers.

Wow, check out this food truck.

Refreshing.

Great advice about marriage and sex.

Some good lessons in here.

I can't wait to get this cookbook from one of my favorite blogs.

My goal for the summer...

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Potato Salad

Don't you love when the air is warm in the evenings? You can sit outside while the sun sets and soak up the last moments of the day. When the nights are warm, we fire up the grill every chance we get. There is just nothing better to me. 



Lately, we've been grilling lots of chicken, fish, veggies, and corn and to go along with it, I've been whipping up this potato salad because it just seems to be the perfect sidekick. 


Now I am not a huge fan of your typical mayo-based potato salad. It just feels a bit too heavy to me and is not something I want to be eating for an everyday meal. I discovered this recipe last summer and with a few of my own tweaks, it is definitely our favorite. I think it could be yours too. It's lighter, brighter, fresher, and goes perfectly with anything off the grill. Just like I like it. 


This is a lovely side dish to make for a picnic, to bring along to a BBQ, or to have with your next family dinner. Yum!

Summer Potato Salad
Serves 6

This recipe does require a bit of early preparation as you are going to boil and then soak the potatoes for a few hours before mixing the salad together. This gives the potatoes time to soak up all the yummy flavors. Its super simple to make but just be sure to give yourself enough time! 

Salad
2 pounds red creamer potatoes, washed and cubed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, halved
3 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 ounces bacon
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cups arugula

Dressing
3 tablespoons olive oil 
3 tablespoons greek yogurt (sour cream works great too)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium pot, cover the cut potatoes with 6 cups water. Add the salt, garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, and the red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and let the potatoes cool in the cooking liquid for about 3 hours. 

Meanwhile, place the bacon on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the bacon and let cool. When cool, cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside. 

Reserve 1/4 cup of the potato cooking liquid. Then drain the potatoes and discard the herb stems. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, bacon, scallions, and arugula. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, yogurt, vinegar, and mustard. Add the chopped parsley leaves. Slowly add the reserved cooking liquid to reach a creamy consistency (I tend to use around 3 tablespoons worth). 

Pour the dressing over the potatoes and stir to combine. Serve at room temperature.

Note: I love using the leftovers mixed together with grains, like quinoa, and maybe some crumbled cheese and a sprinkle of nuts. It's a perfect lunch.


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Friday, May 18, 2012

Las Vegas: Part 3

And now on with Part 3 of our Las Vegas getaway. Here's Part 1 and Part 2!

The last day of our trip can best be described as a pure and good lazy day. We did a whole lot of nothing and it was oh-so-nice! 

Mark had the day off on Friday so we slept in (hello, sleep, I love you!) and then went down to Thomas Keller's French Bistro, Bouchon, for Brunch. 


We sat by the windows where the sun was shining in. Coffee for him, a latte for her.


Grapefruit and mint. A perfect combo! (It sure takes a lot of work to make those little segments.)


I ordered scrambled eggs and Mark went with the traditional eggs over easy, bacon, toast, and fried potatoes. We also split sourdough waffles with bananas, toasted walnuts, warm maple syrup, and vanilla bean butter. Yes, they were just as good as they sound!


But I'd like to take moment to discuss my scrambled eggs. Yeah, so eggs. I eat them all the time. No big deal, right? Wrong, I didn't know you could make your average scramble taste that good. These were the fluffiest, creamiest and most delicious eggs I've ever had. I want more right now just writing about them! I must learn the art of creating these some day. So good!


After brunch, we headed to the pool to just hang out for the day and put our toes in the water. I took a nap, listened to music, read, and that's about it. Laziness at it's absolute best!


After a full day by the pool, we headed back inside for a late lunch at Otto Enoteca & Pizzeria which is in a "piazza" inside the hotel. Yeah, just eating and laying around was the extent of our day!


We took a seat at the bar and Mark had to take a couple calls for work. All I had to do was drink my wine and peruse the menu.


We ordered the antipasti and an arugula salad with parmesan.


A simple pasta marinara with basil.


And this pizza which is one of the best pizza's I've ever had. It had burrata cheese (best cheese ever in my opinion and the reason why we ordered it), garlic oil, fresh oregano, and caper berries (basically huge capers). It had all the tastes and textures you could ask for...salty, creamy, spicy, crunchy, pickly (not a word but can't think of anything else!). I have tried to recreate this at home but haven't got it perfect yet. If I do, I will be sure to share the recipe with you so you can try it too!


 Mark had a sundae with chocolate ice cream, salted caramel, and toasted meringue.


I chose to have one of my new favorite treats. An Americano with cream.


After lunch, we packed up and then headed to the airport for our flight home.

While we were gone Aidan hardly missed us and had a blast with Grandma and Grandpa.


They even ventured out camping for a night. Very brave!


We didn't get in until late, so we made plans to pick up Aidan first thing Saturday morning. I couldn't wait to see my little man. Having your child run into your arms is just the best feeling.


Reunited.


What a trip. I am so grateful!!!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Las Vegas: Part 2

Let's continue on with the Las Vegas recap, shall we? If you missed it, Part 1 is here!

On day 2 of our trip, Mark had to head to the conference in the morning, so we grabbed some coffee and pastries together at The Bouchon Bakery before the start of his day.


I'll have one of everything please!


Ok, three things will do...


We took it to go and then found an area to sit together, share our treats, and sip our coffee.


 Mark's favorite, Pan au Chocolat.


Three bites for you, one bite for me.


A raspberry beignet. The outside.


The inside. Wait, you don't really want to share this one do you?!?


And a custard soaked almond brioche toast. Yummy!


I "dropped" Mark off at work and then made my way to get ready for a day of pampering. Mark had made plans for me to hang out in the Canyon Ranch Spa for most of the day for an early Mother's Day treat. Yes!


Now, I wasn't technically supposed to take any pictures in there, but I snuck a few snaps in when I could. Unfortunately, they hardly capture how awe-inspiring this spa was. A gorgeous space with high ceilings, serene atmosphere, and top of the line everything. Magazines, fresh towels, headphones, cucumber water, robes, luxury products, don't mind if I do!


I had an appointment for a massage at 12pm, but wanted to try out the state-of-the-art workout area too beforehand, so I went directly there and got moving. First, I went for a quick run on the treadmill.


These treadmills were the coolest I've ever seen with a full TV and Pandora style radio on each one.


I am not sure if it was the caffeine and sugar from breakfast, all the super-fit people in there getting their sweat on, or the fact that LMFAO and Beyonce were playing full blast overhead, but I honestly felt like I was flying on that treadmill. I usually hate running (until recently for some reason), but this was really fun. It also made the spa shower after feel like a huge reward.

I did some yoga and stretching on my own in their beautiful dimly-lit studio afterwards and then headed to the spa area to relax and get ready for my massage.

They provided water, tea, coffee, and fresh fruit to your heart's desire. I hung out in this chair and read for a while before they called me back.



The massage was so relaxing, and after, I just lazily took my time in the spa. I went in the hot tub, steam room, sauna, showers, read some more in the chairs and then got ready to meet Mark. It was truly blissful.

I said to Mark several times on this trip that I felt like I had "found me" again. Having time on my own like this was like re-connecting with my old self again (the pre-Mom-me) which made me feel so good, like I hadn't disappeared under my new role. I got to sit and dream about what I want my life to look like going forward and who I want to be for myself and for my family. It nourished me in mind and spirit, and I am so thankful for that.

I went from coffee to cocktails and met Mark and some of his co-workers for happy hour by the pool. I might have had another 1 (or 2) sangrias before we headed out to walk along the strip to Caesar's Palace.


We had heard great things about Mesa Grill, one of Bobby Flay's restaurants, so we headed there for dinner.


A white peach margarita for me. A beer for Mark.


This is what starts to happen when I drink tequila, and we just go down hill from there.


We had everything served tapas-style and shared it all. Tuna ceviche nachos, lobster tacos, chorizo meatballs, and a sweet corn and shrimp tamale.





The food was pretty good but this wasn't my favorite restaurant. Just something about it felt to "chain-like" and not personal at all. We had a great time though, and I'm glad we went, but I don't think I'd go back again.

After dinner we walked along the strip and peaked in here and there where we felt like it. I could people-watch in Las Vegas all day. It's just unlike any other place in this world.


As I mentioned, neither of us really care to gamble at all, but we had to try a few dollars in the Wheel of Fortune slots. No big winnings but fun entertainment for a moment.



Ok, one more day to share. Coming up soon!



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