Farewell Kindergarten

 

Well that was quick wasn’t it? Doesn’t seem very long ago that we walked her to school for the first day of Kindergarten. She loved it, made great friends and had wonderful teachers. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off the elementary years.

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I won’t lie, having her in school from 9:am -3:45 pm everyday was pretty sweet. So now having her home all day is going to be an interesting challenge. I might  will have to call in my trusty helper wine to make the days go by a little easier. In reality it should be a pretty good summer with a nice break from the mundane as we take a trip up to Washington state…..For more wine!

I made the teachers a fun little gift bag that I’ve had saved on my Pinterest board for years. I am finally finding a reason to make some of these cute gift ideas.

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Inside I put a beach towel, sunscreen, chapstick, coconut body wipes, a fruit infuser water bottle, a magazine and a bottle of rosé.

We have enrolled Kaili back in swim lessons and although she’s only been to two of them so far, I am definitely seeing improvements. We’ve got to get this girl to swim or at least not drown, that is a great start.

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And to kick off summer, I took her to the salon for a new haircut.

Taking a few inches off and adding layers, I think it looks great. She is now ready for hot sunshiney days

Tomato Galette with Honey, Goat Cheese and Caramelized Shallots

I have made a few versions of a tomato tart but I have to say that as much as I love puff pastry, it’s hard to beat a good pastry crust. Now….don’t freak out and go buy a refrigerated pie dough. It takes less than 10 minutes and you have everything you need in your kitchen. If you don’t have flour, butter and salt on hand, then maybe you shouldn’t be making a recipe with the word “galette” in it, you catch my drift?

Galette is a French word describing a free form pie or pastry, basically saving you time and effort of fitting the dough perfectly into a pie tin. Also allowing you to pull off a fancy yet rustic and mouthwatering dish without much effort.

These ingredients all together make the perfect meal to kick off summer. Don’t forget your glass of wine.

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Ingredients

PASTRY DOUGH

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

FILLING

4 Shallots, diced (about 1 cup)

2 tsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil + more for drizzling

8 oz Goat Cheese

2 – 3 Tbs Honey

3 – 4 Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced

1/2 tsp Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

2 Tbs Fresh Thyme

1 Large Egg, beaten

Directions

Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender  just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps.

Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork until incorporated.

When the dough begins to hold together (If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring  until incorporated, then check again)  turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Gather the dough and gather into a ball and then shape into a flattened disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

While the dough chills, in a skillet combine shallots and 2 tsp of olive oil. Saute over medium-high heat until shallots are lightly caramelized (about 10 minutes), then remove from heat to cool.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkling the top with a touch of flour.

Using  a floured rolling-pin, roll out the chilled dough into a 1/8″ thick sheet, then transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Crumble goat cheese in all over the rolled-out dough but leaving a rough 2 inch border along the edges. Drizzle a good serving of honey over goat cheese, then evenly top with caramelized shallots. Layer the sliced tomatoes over the goat cheese and honey and then liberally season them with salt and pepper. Give a good drizzle of additional olive oil over the tomatoes, and then sprinkle with the thyme.

Fold up the edges of the pastry dough around the tomatoes, then brush the crust with the beaten egg. Bake galette for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the crust is golden and the tomatoes have begun to char, then cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

 

The Wedge

Part of me was embarrassed to admit that I have never made a wedge salad before. But another part of me was like, ‘girl, you’ve been making a deconstructed wedge salad for years’…so I am good with this realization. Shane is a consistent orderer of the wedge salad, me, not so much. When I decided to make it, I really didn’t know what it truly consisted of, aside from Iceberg lettuce, blue cheese and bacon…really what else do you need?

After some minimally intense research, I found that I didn’t know the extent you could take the wedge salad to. Breadcrumbs, onions, tomatoes and it doesn’t end there. In reality you can add pretty much anything you want, eggs, avocados, chorizo, dried fruit, we could take this to a whole new level. However staying true to the wedge salad lovers, this is what I did and would do again and again.

*Salting the tomatoes drains excess water, saving your salad to have runny tomato juices throughout.

*Quick pickling the onions helps cut down the sharpness and allowing a more fresher flavor.

*I didn’t make my own blue cheese dressing, I always have some decent store bought in my fridge. Add a little milk to the pre-made dressing to lighten it up just a tad, this helps it spoon over the lettuce perfectly.

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Ingredients

2 small tomatoes, diced

Kosher salt

1 small red onion, minced

White wine vinegar, for soaking onion

4 ounces chopped bacon

2 ounces fresh bread crumbs (about 1/2 cup)

4 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1 head iceberg lettuce, outer leaves discarded and quartered through core so that each quarter holds together

Directions

Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and add diced tomatoes. Sprinkle liberally with salt, and toss to combine. In a small bowl, add onion and pour enough vinegar on top to cover. Let tomatoes and onions stand while you prep the other ingredients.

In a small skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisped, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. You should have about 2 tablespoons rendered fat in the skillet. Add bread crumbs and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and season liberally with salt and pepper.

Arrange lettuce wedges on plates and spoon dressing on each. Drain quick-pickled onions and sprinkle all over salads, along with drained tomatoes, bacon, toasted bread crumbs and blue cheese.

Serve and enjoy.

*Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

Weekend at the Lake

We decided to spend Memorial weekend up at Lake Arrowhead. It has been over a year since we were last up there and now that Averi is a bit older and a tad easier, we thought….why not?

We rented the same VRBO that suited our needs perfectly last time. Plenty of rooms, a fire place and a nice deck with a hot tub.

Once we hit our first destination on the mountain, Lou Eddies Pizza, Kaili hopped out of the truck and threw up. We high fived her for making it to the top and saving us a huge mess to clean up.

After a few sips of 7-up, she was ready for pizza.

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Full on delicious pizza, we checked into our rental, unloaded ALL of our stuff (crazy the amount of stuff we need for just a few days) and hit the store.

Then it was time to play.

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We wandered around the Village and stopped at a new Tap Room for a couple of coconut margs and snacks for the girls.

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It was absolutely beautiful up there.

Dinner was enjoyed on our patio. Grilled rib-eyes and wine, while the girls splashed in the hot tub.

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After bath and pajamas, we indulged in S’mores while the sun went down.

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The next morning we woke up and headed out for a hike to “Heart Rock”.  We had zero phone service by the time we got to where we thought the beginning of the trail was but it turned out we were in the wrong spot. Luckily other people were in the same predicament and working together, finally managed to find where we needed to be. Unfortunately, Averi decided she was done with nature and her mood went to shit.

There were loads of Ladybugs all over the place, to the point where it was actually making my skin crawl.

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About a 1/4 mile up the trail Averi had given up and I had to carry her. I wanted to throw in the towel and just let Shane and Kaili finish it,  but Shane talked me into continuing. We took turns carrying the little terrorist to the end. We didn’t really get to explore the waterfall or the heart shape rock since the girls were well, you know.

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Kaili did a great job and had a lot of fun, that is until I told her I wanted to take her picture. Tell me how you really feel Kaili.

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Shane carried Averi all the way back to the paved road where she managed to use her two feet to make it to the truck.

We were all famished and ready for lunch so we stopped at a highly recommended Mexican spot that sits cliffside the mountain. The food was really good as were the views.

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After lunch, Averi’s mood lifted so we headed down to the village for some play time.

The girls finally got to go on a few the rides, something we have been hearing about nonstop since we arrived.

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The pirate ship was the clear favorite.

Then it was our turn, we sat outside and had margaritas while the girls had ice cream.

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We wandered up to the grocery store for some goodies to build a charcuterie board for dinner.

Once the girls were down for the night, we sat outside enjoying our meal when a visitor let himself into our yard.

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We tried calling the number on his tag but no one answered. Shane said he remembered seeing this dog the last time we were here so while he walked down to that house, Zuess and I enjoyed some cured meats. Then he was happily reunited with his owners.

Sunday morning after some espresso’s made with my new Staresso, which I LOVE, we went back down to the lake for lunch.

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We shared some appetizers and a few cocktails, which were all really good.

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A neighbor of the house we were staying at invited us to a block party later that afternoon. It was an interesting group of people and after an hour or so of chatting, we had had enough and decided to head back to the house to try and eat up some leftovers.

Before heading home Monday morning, we took once last glimpse of the lake. We left beautiful weather and headed back into town welcomed by a grey sky and cooler weather.

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It’s always a good time up there and I am ooking forward to enjoying a Christmas in Lake Arrowhead some time in the future.

Skinny Peanut Zoodles

I am pretty sure I can eat a spicy peanut sauce on anything, maybe even bathe in it. I used to make peanut noodles once a week for dinner just for myself. Now thanks to the spiralizer I can make them with veg and save myself the carbs.

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Ingredients

3 Zucchini or yellow squash sprialized

1 carrot sprialized

2 Tbsp Coconut oil

1 Onion, chopped

1 chopped Chilli or crushed red pepper

2 heaping Tbsp Peanut butter

1 can Coconut milk

splash of Fish sauce

 

Directions

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan. Add your chopped chilli, chopped onion and fry until soft.

Add your peanut butter, followed by coconut milk and fish sauce. Stir until all combined and creamy on a low heat.

Add your zoodles and stir just until they are warmed through. Don’t over cook them, we don’t want them soft.

Serve with a spritz of lime just and cilantro. This would be good with soba or linguine noodles if you don’t want to bother with the veggie noodles.

 

 

Mother’s Day

I hope all you wonderful moms had a great Mother’s day. We earned this holiday! I grew two  human beings inside of me and went through hell to get them to exit my body in a safe and timely manner. Then there is the aftermath of the birth, the NICU, the bleeding, the pain!  Being a mom is hard and it definitely takes a village. But we do it, everyday. We, you and me, we are badass!

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Kaili made me the sweetest Mother’s day gift at school. She knows me pretty well.

Saturday I was taken out to brunch at my favorite of the Brian Malarkey restaurants, Herringbone, where “fish meats field.”

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The atmosphere in the place is just amazing.

We decided to graze through a bunch of dishes that we normally wouldn’t order for brunch. Settling in with the endless Rosé, we started with oysters.

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I am a huge seafood cheerleader. I have had oysters before and eh, they are fine. I don’t get all the hype, especially when someone says they love them. Wait, do you like the taste of a fresh plain oyster or do you like to dump all the fixings on it? Because I feel like you’re not really tasting the oyster when its dripping with horseradish and lemon juice. Anyways….Here is Shane’s first time trying a raw oyster.

Pretty underwhelming reaction huh? Thats pretty much how I feel about them too.

Next we tore into a perfectly piping hot basket of beignets. We kept having to swat the kids hands away. Back up ladies, eat your eggs, these are ours!

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For our third course we decided on the whole fish ceviche. Basically a raw crudo of Branzino. It was amazing. So fresh and clean, like eating the ocean with bits of chili and micro cilantro for a proper punch and crunch.

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The girls were being so very good. I think this is a first time in a long time that they were this good at a restaurant. We decided to go with it and try one more dish while they were on this best behavior kick.

The lobster roll. I have yet to have a really good one in my 40 years so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

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But this, this was delicious. The lobster wasn’t hidden under globs of mayo, it was left to shine. The brioche bun was pillowy soft, buttery and melted in your mouth. I was so surprised with how much I liked it.

There was some live music in the front of the restaurant, we took our wine and went to listen for a bit. The girls played around patiently waiting for us while simultaneously asking for ice cream every two minutes.

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This entire meal from the kids, to the food was perfect. By far the best dining experience I have had in a long time. Since we know I am picky when it comes to dining out, you should all stop by Herringbone if you are in La jolla. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

 

Asparagus with Pesto and Burrata

How have we been eating asparagus without pesto for all these years? Fail! The compliments these two give each other is something from a love story, a perfect pairing.

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Topped with creamy burrata, this is a perfect side dish to anything.

Ingredients

1-2 bunches of asparagus

1/2 lemon

2 Tbs. Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Burrata

Pesto, you’re favorite homemade recipe.

Directions

Begin by making your pesto and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425. Place asparagus on sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper.

Roast for 15 minutes.

Top with burrata and a few spoonfuls  of pesto. Break open that ball of creaminess and dive in.

 

*recipe adapted from The Londoner