Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dinner By The Beach

I recently went to Laguna Beach for a long weekend with one of my best friends. The area is amazing, the views are one of a kind and the food is simply delicious! 

We had a lot of fun and ate some amazing food - some of which we prepared ourselves in her aunt and uncle's wonderful kitchen. We had Saturlicius Dinner (this term coined by her boyfriend) on the balcony while the sun was setting.  It really couldn't have been much better!!!

Here's a look at all that we enjoyed!

Shrimp, Rice, Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, 
Zucchini and Garlic Bread!

Pound Cake with Whipped Cream and Strawberries! 

The beautiful sunset.

The sunset over the water!
Isn't this view just amazing???

And because the views really are amazing - here are a few more shots from the weekend!

We were sharing the house with two super cute dogs!
This adorable guy is Charlie. 
He wasn't happy I interupted him reading the paper. 
Sorry Charlie!

A view from the dining table!!

We took a little trip to San Clemente for lunch.

After lunch we took a walk on the pier and met this fellow!

A lil bit of the San Clement Hills.

We'd already had quite a long day, 
so it was nap time with the other adorable dog, Baby.

Then a quick trip to the water before the sun set.

Again - I'm in awe of the beauty of this place!

Looking out while laying on the sand.

A shot from the balcony at lunch the next day.

Oh hey look - a sailboat!

If you can't tell by now - I had a wonderful time. It was so hard to leave and I cannot wait until I can go back. Hopefully it's very soon!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

I've tried to make Granola a couple times, but for some reason I cannot get it to come out right! Because of that I was a little reluctant to make these granola bars, but they sounded AMAZING and I'd discussed it with my brother so I decided I'd give it a go. Plus - I already had almost everything I needed on hand so I wasn't going to be spending that much!

I won't say anymore before I show you how to make these homemade treats!

The Goods:
Shredded Coconut
Peanut Butter
Corn Syrup

The Kitchen Sink!

Combine ALL the dry ingredients including the fruit, 
nuts and chocolate. 

Mix together the melted butter, corn syrup, 
honey and peanut butter.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine. 

It'll look something like this!

Dump into a parchment lined square baking dish.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

When done, it should still be a little soft to the touch!

Once cool, cut into individual bars.

I wrapped them in plastic wrap and 
kept them in a zipper baggie.

I'm happy to report that my track record with regular granola did NOT follow me and these came out amazing! I am, without a doubt, going to be making them again and I cannot wait to try other fun combinations!!

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 20

Another Sunday Night, another Sunday Night Dinner post! Tonight I enjoyed the company of good friends, two different kinds of delicious Grilled Pizza (I'll blog about this soon - I promise!) and Caesar Salad with homemade croutons! Mmm mmm mmm!

A Quick Garden Update

Not much has really changed, so I'll just do a quick update to show you my garden since the last time I posted about it.

For the most part, he herbs are growing like crazy. The new Oregano is suffering a bit, but I cleaned up around it today and am holding out hope that it's not done. The Mint obviously had something eating it, so I got rid of probably about 3/4 of the plant. I'm not worried though because I know Mint grows and spreads like crazy! Everything else is doing well and I hope they continue to into the Fall.  

Oregano, Chives, Sage, Thyme and Rosemary

Mint, Flat Leaf Parsley and Basil

The Lime Tree continues to impress me and I love being able to have fresh limes WHENEVER I want. It's just wonderful I tell you! :)

The tomato plant is still growing and producing yummy tomatoes. I got to enjoy a few right off the vine this week and if looks like there are still many more to come!

The flowers and plants are mostly thriving. One flower worries me because it's quite light green/almost yellow and I know that's not a good sing. I don't know what to do because I have another one exactly like it and it's not having this problem. Does it need more water? Less water? Help!!!

Lots of plants and flowers!

Climbing Jasmine - Doing exactly what I want!

The suffering flower! :(

The thriving flower!

One of the hanging flower baskets.

And lastly - LOOK at this Christmas Tree! It's HUGE! Probably about 3 feet tall or so. I don't know to be honest because I haven't measured it, but I should. Anyway - it's SO impressive because I got it almost THREE years ago,  a few weeks before Christmas, and it was less than a foot tall. It sat perfectly on my counter for the holidays and I planted it in a bigger container shortly after the new year. It's made it through two HOT Southern California Summers and I cannot wait to decorate it in a few month! 


Almost Three Years Ago!

I might try to add more edible things to my garden when the temperatures get cooler. What do YOU think I should add to my garden and start growing this Fall???

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 19

I missed a few weeks - but I'm back with a Sunday Night Dinner post! And the wait was worth it because this dinner was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

I recently came across a chicken piccata recipe that I found and saved awhile ago, but never made. I decided I wanted chicken piccata for dinner tonight so I made it and boy was I glad I did! I served it with some buttered herbed pasta, roasted garlic broccoli and a little sauteed fresh spinach. The chicken was amazing, but everything together was just perfect! I think I'll make it again, but add a little fresh garlic to the lemon sauce. That's really the ONLY way this could get better!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hello New Flowers & Herbs!!!

I recently mentioned that I had been neglecting my garden, and due to that I ended up losing a few flowers. Sad, but on the bright side I got go add new flowers to my ever changing and growing garden.  Here are the new beauties:

In addition to the new flowers, I decided to get a few new herbs too! I got a new Flat Leaf Parsley to replace one that had been dying for WEEKS. I also got a new mint plant to replace one I got rid or probably about a year ago. And lastly, I filled in an empty space in my herb container with some lovely oregano.  I don't cook with it often, but I'll find ways to use it!

And I can't forget a few of the old favorites!

Fruit Puree Pops

I'm always looking out for new recipes to try, and when I ran across this recipe last week, I wanted to be eating one IMMEDIATELY! Since that wasn't a possibility, I decided I would make them over the weekend and that's exactly what I did!

I've recently started buying mostly organic fruits and vegetables - I've even gone to a second store to get organic apples because the one I was originally shopping at, hadn't received their shipment that week! Crazy, right?!?! Anyway...since these were pretty much ALL FRUIT, I decided that organic was absolutely the way to go.  And instead of using raspberries, I used strawberries because I'm a rebel like that.

These pops are super easy to make, but take patience because they require some wait time between each layer. It's worth it though, so be patient and you'll be happy with the outcome!

Now let me show you how to make them!

The Goods:
Popsicle Sticks

Not Pictured, but you'll also need: 
Tiny Plastic Cups, Water and Sugar 
Sorry...don't know what's wrong with me!!!

Cut up the fruit...

Using a blender or food processor, 
puree each fruit separately.

Mmmmm pureed fruit.

Now - also not pictured... mix in the simple syrup.

Portion out the kiwi puree. 

I thought using a muffin tin for each cup would make taking 
them in and out of the freezer easier and less messy.

And it was! I didn't spill any!!! 

After waiting an hour, add the mango layer.

Note: One cup is without mango because I have a friend that cannot eat pitted fruit due to a food allergy and I knew they'd be sad if they couldn't try these pops. If that's the case with you, just pick another fruit, or go with only two layers like I did! 

After twenty more minutes in the freezer, 
add the popsicle sticks and freeze for two more hours!

FINALLY add the strawberry layer and freeze overnight.
Overnight?!?! was SOOOO hard to wait, but remember...

And THAT is why you need to wait.
You'll end up with a lovely layered fruit puree pop!

As you've probably noticed, I doubled the recipe because I wanted more than four pops!!!

And I'm sure glad I did!

I'm off to go eat one now. 

Go make some yourself and enjoy!!!