Friday, January 27, 2012

Fill in the Blank - Travel Edition!

Granada, Spain 2010

I have to leave the house in 15 minutes and I'm still on the couch in my bathrobe.
I should probably get moving, huh?

I am so happy it's Friday, and that we have NO plans ahead of us this weekend.
AND it's supposed to be a beautiful weekend here in So Cal.
Hopefully we can get out of the house to  enjoy the sunny weather this weekend,
because I think my stressed out hubby could really use it!

Once again I am linking up over at Lauren's blog for Fill in The Blank Friday.
It's travel themed, which kind makes me want to take a trip somewhere,
but with a babe on the way and our funds drained after doing our taxes
I think we'll be staying put for a while.
Maybe a "staycation" is in our future!

1.   My favorite place i've ever traveled to is    I have a soft spot for Spain since I studied there in college.  But I also love traveling in the US.  There are many great places to visit right in our own backyard, that are much more affordable that going abroad .

2.    Argentina     is somewhere I'd love to go someday.

3.  I pass the time on a plane (or bus, or car ride or train) by     reading, watching movies, listening to music.  Usually pretending I'm busy so I don't have to talk to the person next to me!  I'm anti-social, I know!

4.  My three must-haves when I travel are    a camera   ,    water & snacks   and    a good book or magazine 

5.  My favorite travel companion is    anyone up for adventure and trying new things.

6.  The craziest thing that ever happened to me while traveling is    not too crazy, but on our first trip to Europe with my sister our train from Paris to Barcelona broke down half way. We were supposed to get off and get on a bus that would take us to Barcelona.  When we were trying to find the bus, the mean French man at the ticket window told us it had already left and started laughing at us.  Luckily he was wrong.  We got on our bus and proceeded to stop at every town between Montpellier (where we broke down) and Barcelona.  At each stop the bus driver would go to the bar in the train station and have a drink before getting back on to drive us to the next city.  We finally made it to Barcelona at like 2am.  We hadn't exchanged money to pesos and all the banks were closed so we had to pay a taxi driver $40 US to take us to our hotel.  It was a long day and we were very happy to crawl into bed!

7.  The most exotic food I've ever tried while traveling is    hmmm, I don't think I've done anything too exotic.  Maybe octopus?  .

8.  If I could live anywhere else, I'd live in    where I am now - Southern California - but a different city.  Maybe San Diego or Santa Barbara, just to get out of the congestion of LA.  I could also live in Northern Cali or maybe even the Pacific Northwest, though I'm not sure I can handle all the gloomy weather  .

9.  I have been to   thirty-four   
states in the U.S. (or maybe a few more)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nursery Inspiration

Since our baby girl is due in exactly 4 months from today (?!),
I've recently become obsessed with looking up nursery inspiration photos.

I'd like something that's not too girly, and not too pink.
Maybe some neutrals with bright splashes of color thrown in.
One thing I learned after going through my pins on Pinterest
is that I must like aqua colored walls, because 90% of my pins have them!

Take a look...


So do you have any nursery decorating advice?
Especially on a budget?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pasta with Ricotta and Veggies

This is a great recipe that's easily adaptable for using up any veggies you have in the fridge.
This time around I made it with broccoli, green beans, yellow pepper, thyme, and chives.
But you can use just about any mix of veggies and herbs your heart desires.

And it's nice and light - good for all those healthy New Years resolutions we're already forgetting about. 

Pasta with Ricotta and Veggies
Makes 4 servings

8 oz dried penne or ziti
2 1/2 cups fresh broccoli flowerets
1 1/2 cups 1-inch pieces fresh asparagus or green beans
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 cup light ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
4 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan

Heat a pot of salted water to boiling.  Cook pasta as directed.
Add broccoli, asparagus, and/or beans during the last 3 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, place a fine strainer over a bowl.  
Cut tomatoes in half.  Squeeze seeds and juice into strainer.  
Press with the back of a spoon to get juices out.  Discard the seeds.  
Add ricotta, basil, thyme, vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper to the tomato juice.  Mix well.  
Chop the tomatoes and add to the mixture.

Drain pasta and veggies.  Add the ricotta mixture and toss well.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Nutrition:  368 cal, 8g fat, 12 mg chol, 393 mg sodium, 57g carbs, 6g fiber, 19g proteins


Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekend Snaps and Cheesecake Bars!

Happy Monday!
It's even happier for those of you that have the day off.
The only patient I had scheduled for today called to cancel, so I unexpectedly got the day off too.  Yay!

This past weekend was part busy, and part completely lazy.  
A perfect combination, if you ask me.

We started off with some breakfast at IHOP, which I hadn't been to in probably 15 years.
You really can't go wrong with pancakes, hashbrowns, and eggs all for under $10.

Then we took a tour of the maternity floor of a local hospital.
We have the choice between 2 hospitals, and we definitely liked the one we saw last week better.
It was bigger, newer, and overall had a nicer feeling to it.
(Although seeing those hospital beds was a little scary and a bit too "real" for me!)
 But it may come down to simple finances if there's a large cost difference between the two.
Keeping my fingers crossed for the nicer hospital!

Here I am at 21 weeks and counting...

After the tour we got ready for a party at my sister's house.
I whipped up some cheesecake bars and drizzled chocolate on to make them pretty.

My sister made all the other food for her party,
including pulled pork sandwiches, orzo salad, and cole slaw.
It was all very yummy, and this is where I spent most of the evening...

On Sunday, I pretty much spent the entire day on the couch
and started working on this...

I'm making a baby blanket using this pattern and fun bright colors.
I like the way it's turning out so far.  Hopefully the baby will like it too!

To wrap up the weekend, Cheeto decided to go surfing...

I don't think he was a fan of the wax on the surfboard 
since he kept picking up his paws and shaking them.  
I don't think our dreams of having a surfing cat are gonna come true.
Maybe we'll try scuba diving?

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fillin' In The Blanks

This is what's been going on at our house lately....

Can you tell we're gonna be new parents?

I'm pretty excited about it being Friday, cause I'm pooped!
I'm looking forward to sleeping in, and baking a few treats to bring to my sister's party.
And then sleeping in again.
And maybe throwing a nap in there somewhere.
Are you sensing a theme here?

Once again, I'm linking up over at Lauren's blog for Fill In The Blank Friday.
Hope you guys have a great weekend!

1.   The last thing I ate was     a cutie clemintine orange.  I can't get enough of them.

2.   The last song I listened to was    "Lonely Boy" by the Black Keys while I was driving home.  I love that always makes me want to dance and sing along.

3.  Using the letters in my name I can spell    {Rachel}...Race, Rah, Ra, Ace, Ale, Are, Ah, Car, Care, Cha, Char, Cher, Hare, Hale, Her, Har, Ha, He, Ear, Each, El, Earl, Lear, Lace, La...and probably a few more I'm missing.

4.  If I had to dress in one color for the rest of my life I would pick     I'd say black because it's so versatile, but I could see blue too...that way you could wear jeans, and there are so many different shade of blue you could use

5.  If you were to look in my bag right now you'd find    3 kinds of lip gloss, gum, my wallet, my iphone, a stack of gift cards, my e-reader, and a pen.  Nothing too exciting.

6.  When I finish filling in the blanks I'm going to    Watch Grey's and go to bed.  I'm exhausted.  This whole not being able to sleep on my back thing is taking it's toll  .

7.  My all time favorite song to dance to is    Hmm, there are so many.  I used to listen to "My Humps" before going out, and I loved jamming to "The Way I Are" by Timbaland.  Also anything off of Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway will get me going, along with any 80's Madonna, especially off of True Blue.  Wow, that's quite a list for someone who really hasn't danced in quite a while!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Potato Pizza with Prosciutto and Arugula

About a month or so ago, we went to a screening of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
(one of the perks of having a husband that works in "the industry"),
then treated ourselves to dinner at Pitfire Pizza, a local artisan pizza place.
Now, usually, I don't mess around too much with pizza.
Give me some pepperoni, sausage, and/or mushrooms and I'm good.
But this night I decided to try the potato and radicchio pizza.
And it was De. Lish. Ous.
As in, I gobbled up the whole thing by myself.
And kinda wanted to order another one.

Since pizza is a pretty quick and easy dinner to throw together,
 I decided to make my own version of the yummy potato pizza.
Basically you get some pizza dough, layer on a bunch of toppings,
throw it in a very hot oven, and have dinner ready in 15 minutes.
What could be better?

Here's how I made my pizza...

Potato Pizza with Prosciutto and Arugula

Pizza dough (I used Pillsbury)
Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 medium red potato, sliced thin
2-3 slices Prosciutto (because we had some in the fridge)
Handful of Arugula
Salt & Pepper

Heat oven to 450.
Stretch or roll out the dough to your desired size on a baking sheet or pizza stone.
(If the dough keeps shrinking back on you, let it rest a few minutes before trying again)
Brush with olive oil, leaving a 1 inch border for the crust.  Sprinkle with garlic.
Arrange mozzarella slices throughout the crust.
Layer the potato slices on top of the cheese.
Tear prosciutto into pieces and throw on top of the potatoes.
Sprinkle with a handful of arugula.
Season with salt & pepper.
Throw in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden brown.
Slice, and gobble up!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend Snaps

Some snapshots of our weekend...
(okay, maybe it was a few weekends ago, but still the weekend, right?)

Homemade California Rolls and Tempura Shrimp Rolls from the hubby,
to cure my sushi craving...

Putting my new Aerolatte to use...

Saturday Morning Breakfast...

Enjoying our new fluffy comforter...

Nap time!

How was your weekend?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Six Herb Linguine

After all those rich holiday dinners
and sweet cookies, pies, and cakes
I figure it's time to lighten up a bit and enjoy some simple meals.

This dish looks veeerrrry similar to another pasta dish I made a while back.
But it’s different, I promise.

One of the best parts about going home to my parents house 
is going through my mom’s magazines to find recipes.  
She gets more magazines than anyone I know (right Dad?).  

Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Oprah, Taste of Home...
just to name a few.

Usually by the time I make it home every month or two, 
there’s a big pile of them just waiting for me to go through.  
And that’s exactly what I did over Thanksgiving. 
I came home with a pile of new recipes to try out, including this one.

For those of you (ahem, Hannah) that don’t want clams in your linguine, 
this tastes very similar to the other recipe but without that pesky shellfish.

While buying the fresh herbs may add up, 
I’m sure you can find ways to incorporate them into other recipes.  

Six Herb Linguine
Good Housekeeping

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon packed fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
12 oz linguine
½ cup fresh packed basil leaves
¼ cup loosely packed fresh flat leaf parsely leaves, plus garnish
¼ cup snipped fresh chives
2 oz freshly grated Parmesan

Heat large pot of salted water to boiling.  Add linguine and cook as directed.
In a large skillet, heat oil on medium.
Add shallots, cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently.
Add garlic, sage, oregano, rosemary, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add broth and wine.  Heat to boiling on high.
Reduce heat to medium and reduce to about half. 
Remove from heat.
Finely chop basil and parsley.
When pasta is done, reserve ¼ cup water, then drain.
Return pasta to pot. Stir in wine/herb mixture 
along with chives, parsley, basil, and reserved water.  
Toss to combine.
Serve topped with parmesan. 
Garnish with parsley.

(415 calories, 18g protein, 68g carbs, 8g total fat, 3g fiber, 13mg cholesterol, 500mg sodium)

Monday, January 2, 2012

One Last Holiday Post

A few weeks before Christmas I saw this cake on Joy The Baker and knew I had to try it.  I was fairly intimidated by the rolled cake thing, but it was actually pretty easy and I think it came out beautifully.  I would definitely try this again, although apparently my family aren't big fans of peppermint so I'd probably leave that out.  I think next time I might try adding some berries to the whipped cream layer.  Yum!

This is my "I'm not sure if this is gonna work!" face

The finished product!

Everything's better with a scoop of ice cream!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years 2011

New Year's Eve was relatively calm here.  I'm past the stage of needing to go out and party, plus being pregnant kinda puts a damper on all of that.

We spent the afternoon shopping for maternity clothes, because my jeans aren't gonna fit over my growing bump, and butt, much longer.  When we got home we took a walk down to the beach, which was very foggy and cold, giving everything an eerie type of vibe.

Later we went to a nice dinner, then home to watch a movie (Super 8), and the countdown on our couch.  For us, it was perfect.

New Years morning we noshed on breakfast - French toast, breakfast potatoes, and scrambled eggs - then spent the day cleaning and relaxing at home.

Tonight we are going to break in our new pannini press.  Exciting times at our house!

Heading out for dinner...
There's definitely a bump!

A delicious way to start the new year!

Hope you've had a fun, safe, and happy New Year!