Mom Visit

So, I guess I missed the memo... it's flipping JUNE already!  I have a an overwhelming feeling of being behind - at work, at home, and with my blog.  It feels like I've been on the go since I came back from Vegas last month, but it has certainly been a great summer kick-off!  I'll have to check back in with my summer bucket list to see how much progress I've made so far. My mom visited last weekend, which was a really special treat since we don't get to see each other often, and we definitely don't get much time with just the two of us.  It's not really our style to plan out an itinerary for our vacations, so we just followed where the weekend took us...

I picked Mom up at the airport on Friday morning and we started the day with a long walk through Henry Cowell... I never tire of living so close to such an incredible place.

We had a fabulous dinner at one of my favorite places downtown, Soif.  I had the scallops and a glass of 2010 Pascal Cotat Sancerre Rosé Pinot Noir.

We (of course) made a stop at the Penny Ice Creamery, where they make their ice cream from scratch... they literally pasteurize the milk there and everything!  I had a s'mores sundae, which was to die for.

Saturday morning was spent at the farmers market in Aptos, which in the summer months is filled with beautiful fresh fruit and flowers.  We had a smorgasbord of snacks on the patio outside my cottage in the warm sun.

We visited the pier in Santa Cruz for some clam chowder and to take in the sights of the boardwalk, West Cliff Drive, and the ocean... the weather was absolutely perfect and made the day all the more enjoyable.

The whole weekend was fantastic, and it was so great to see my mom!

Found: The Farm Bakery Cafe

My friend Olive introduced me to The Farm Bakery Cafe in Aptos - a perfect little lunch spot filled with fresh soups, sandwiches, baked goods, and a gift shop packed with all sorts of goodies. The general atmosphere is a clean, sunny building filled with tables in colorful tablecloths and fresh flowers.

I always order the club:

My favorite part is (of course) all of the treasures in the gift shop.

Love this little place!

Weekend Snapshots

After the last few weekends on the move and a couple of crazy weeks at work, I was overdue for a relaxing, no-plan sort of weekend.  It ended up being a perfect balance of relaxing with wonderful company, great food, a good book, and lots of sunshine! I can't think of a better way to kick off the weekend than Friday night pizza and beer.

Cheryl and Rob invited Rudy and I over for dinner Saturday night - her veggie lasagna was delicious!

...as was the dessert.

Sunday morning I enjoyed some coffee from The Abbey and went into work for a couple hours.

The best part of the whole weekend was staying at the beach until the sun went down.  Rob built a fire in the sand and Cheryl and I sat reading our books and chatting for hours.

Rudy is such a great little beach dog - just quietly hung out with us all day, enjoying watching other dogs, chasing his ball, and sleeping on my towel.  He made sure to get his share of cuddles with everyone, too.

The sunset was gorgeous...

I strayed from my usual Steak Sunday dinner and thought I would rather do a "Snacking Sunday" with a nice glass of Windy Oaks Pinot Noir - my favorite wine from the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Just another one of those surreal times that I have to pinch myself to remember that I really do live here in this paradise!

 

Life lately, according to my iPhone

It's been a while since I've posted, so this ought to cover the last 3 or 4 weeks... sorry for the excessive scrolling! Brent and I met in Sierra Madre for a weekend back in March - it's a good halfway point between Santa Cruz and Las Vegas, and he had a cycling stage race in San Dimas.  We of course hit all of our favorite spots... Taco Lita, the pub for a cold one and cottage pie, Bean Town for chai lattes, and Dad and Kim's cozy cottage living room complete with a warm fire.Mom and Kathy happened to be camping down in Dana Point that same weekend, so we drove down to spend the afternoon on the beach with them... Brent and I were both very happy to see Parkerboy.  Don't they look studly together? :)

Dad picked some avocados for us to take home...

...and I enjoyed smelling Kim's freshly blooming sweet peas.  I always say Dad and Kim's house in Sierra Madre is the only place I go where I don't spend the whole time wishing I was back in my cottage.  It's truly a home away from home.

Back at the homestead things are just about the same.  Lots of farmers market goodies...

...cuddles with the furry family (+ my sister's dog Chanel - isn't her teeny little face so cute?!).

When Brent was in town, we had a great date night downtown..

...with wine and cheese, of course.

Love.

The weather has been gorgeous as usual.

Boo is just as cuddly as ever... my little velcro-kitty

We had an enchilada party at Steve and Maggie's casa with my favorite Johannes-es (and plenty of tequila)

Last weekend I took a drive down Highway 1 to spend the weekend in Cambria with the family... the view will never cease to amaze me.

Lastly, I'll leave you with a little tea wisdom...

 

 

 

Weekend in pictures

I have been MIA for a whole week!  I definitely needed a week or so of reclusion, and I had a fantastic weekend to put me right back into the swing of things. Friday marked the end of Cheryl's first week at the office - I'm so happy to be working with her again.  We celebrated with cocktail hour at Paradise Beach Grille down in the Capitola Village, which has a great patio area right on the water.

Saturday morning was an early one - and we made it to the farmer market in time to have 1st pick of the beautiful flowers.

My neighbor Maggie and I grabbed some chai teas and drove up to Boulder Creek to peruse the little shops and flea market... I found a couple cute tops at a vintage shop - all for under $10!

I took a quick catnap and then headed out for dinner with some fun ladies in Downtown Santa Cruz.  I had the cosmojito, the lovechild of a cosmopolitan and a mojito and it was quite refreshing!

I had a lazy Sunday morning filled with a little coffee and a lot of Boo cuddles... he sinks into my lap like a pad of butter on a warm biscuit.  I like to joke that he's the sandman kitty - he always induces a pleasant nap.

I spent Sunday afternoon at a beach in Aptos with Rudy and the Johannes clan.  I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than laying on the beach with Rudy and reading a good book.  I'm thinking this should be the plan every Sunday.

Weekend in pictures

Had a nice, quiet weekend to myself... Took myself out on a solo date Friday night at my favorite little place in downtown Santa Cruz, Soif Wine Bar

I had the venison in a port wine reduction and it was delicious!

Ukulele practice on Saturday morning with the Tiki King

Monk marathon, with Rudy cuddles... MAN his breath stinks.

Cottage cleaning

Scooby sighting

Boo time

My little bathroom troll escaped and took up residence on my pillows

Sheperd's Pie for Sunday dinner - 1st attempt and complete success!

Got the stink off the dog

He's not a huge fan of bath time, but he sure does love his towel

Pictures via my iPhone - most are taken through Instagram

Breakfast Taters

I probably shouldn't include "breakfast" in the name since I love them so much I tend to eat these potatoes as a dinner side dish too, but I think they are traditionally a breakfast variety of potato.  Plus, breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day.  I digress...  I'll get to the recipe.  There are no exact measurements but it's simple and VERY hard to mess up (my favorite kind of recipe).  I use red potatoes but pretty much any potato will do, and I typically use 1 large or 2 small for each person.  I use a 2:1 ratio for potatoes to onion, so for every potato I use, I use about 1/2 of that volume in onion.  I like it onion-y, and since I live alone I rarely worry about my breath after :P Ingredients for 2 servings:

4 small or 2 large red potatoes 1/2 medium sized yellow onion, diced 2 Tbsp. olive oil salt & pepper to taste shredded cheese (optional) hot sauce or ketchup (optional)

Directions:

Poke some holes in the taters with a fork, wrap in wax paper and nuke 'em until they're tender to the touch.  Mine typically take 5-6 minutes for 2 potatoes, but this step is entirely dependent upon the microwave.  They should feel soft to the touch with a little squish, but still have a solid center.

Dice up the onion and cut up the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes... careful - I'm always burning my fingertips on those freshly nuked taters.

Cook the onion in 2 Tblsp. of olive oil for a minute or two - until they start to look translucent

Then throw in the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and mix it all together so the onions are evenly distributed amongst the potatoes and until the potatoes all get a thin coating of the olive oil.

I cook it over low heat, but low on my teeny gingerbread-house-type-stove it's probably the equivalent to a regular stove's medium setting.  I stir every minute or so until they are good and golden.  Sometimes I cook them until they're really brown and that's good too - whatever you're in the mood for!

If I'm feeling a little naughty and I've got it in the fridge, I'll sprinkle some shredded cheese over the top and let it get all gooey...

I like to serve mine with a Taco Lita hot sauce packet - I keep a stash in my kitchen that my dad and stepmom replenish with each visit (thank you!).  It's also really good with ketchup, or just by itself.  Enjoy!

 

Weekend in pictures

My dad and Kim were here for the weekend...

...which of course meant we had to make a stop at our favorite nursery shop in Ben Lomond.

Dad and Kim brought their usual goodies - fresh baked bread and avocados from their tree. Those avocados made some great guac!

Dad (of course) needed a project. So he hung the cast iron skillets they brought for me over my little stove

We headed up to Davenport for dinner at the Roadhouse

I had the New England clam chowder and a glass of Quinta Cruz Tempranillo

We woke up early Sunday for breakfast and took a hike through Fall Creek in Felton... I realized AFTER we got there that I had forgotten the memory card for my camera, so all I have are pics snapped with my iphone.

We went to lunch at The Farm, a little place in Aptos my friend Olive introduced me to that is rapidly becoming my favorite lunch spot. I had the club...

...and Rudy spent the whole time wishing he had the club, too

That's his begg-y face.

Next stop was Soquel for some treasure hunting through their many antique shops...

...then back up to Davenport to the sea glass beach - the tide was low so sea glassers were aplenty digging for their frosty glass treasures

We went back to my cottage to cook dinner - a rainbow quinoa and black bean salad with marinated skirt steak over a bed of lettuce, fresh-picked from Kim's garden - so delicious!

Thank you for a wonderful weekend... come back soon! :)