An Adventurous Weekend!

>> Monday, September 13, 2010

Well, I don't know about you, but I sure had an eventful weekend!

Saturday alone, this was our fun-filled schedule:

1. Wake up
2. Get a phone call and got the news our 99 Honda Civic had sold (it needed a very expensive repair that would cost half as much as it was worth, so not worth fixing... we had just started trying to sell it on Friday)
3. Run 10k mileage for my half marathon training
4. Find a car online worth going to look at
5. Realize the car is 2 1/2 hours away
6. Drive 2 1/2 hours to look at the car
7. Buy the car
8. Remember that 2 1/2 hours away holds a CHICK-FIL-A!!! So we eat at said Chick-Fil-A
9. Drive separately 2 1/2 hours home since we had bought the car

Seriously, never made such quick decisions in our life! :) But I think it was good for us, and stretched us, as well as made Archie and I feel a little closer!

This 99 Honda Civic was my first and only car... I've had it since high school!!! My parents bought it brand new, and when I went to college and got married I bought it from them. So, I've never even had the chance to pick out a new car. She has been old faithful.

I drove back and forth from college for my first nephews baby showers and birth, came to see Archie while in college (in fact I was driving this car the night I met him), I drove back and forth to grad school both ways in this car, Archie and I drove cross country on our move from South Carolina to California in this car, and I drive it all around town for my job.

If I would have know the last time I drove it was going to be the last time... I would have given her a little heart to heart about how grateful I was! :)

So, without further ado, here is the new Pacifica. If our plans had gone according to what "WE" planned, we would have made the Civic last another year, saved up and bought something we really wanted... but we don't always get to plan :), and God blessed us with wisdom, finding the right one, and a perfect replacement. It was under budget of what we said we would spend, big enough, and we were still able to pay in cash!
The best part of the trip was remembering there was a Chick-Fil-A in Sacramento, and stopping by! We don't have those in the Bay Area, so it was a real treat!

So, with such a busy weekend, we needed quick and easy meals! This is definitely one! I always scour the web when grocery shopping time comes up and come up with new meals to make, and I found this one over at the Picky Palate. These Steak and Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Corn and Tomato Relish, are easy enough to make a quick weeknight meal, but fancy enough to feel like something a little special. The goat cheese pairs perfectly with the steak!
Steak and Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Corn and Tomato Relish: (from the Picky Palate)
4 steak cuts of choice, grilled
garlic salt
8-10 flour tortillas
2-3 Tbs. softened or spreadable butter
1/2 cup goat cheese

Corn Relish
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 can corn, drained or 4 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Grill the steak to your preference, seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. After cooked, cut into bite-sized pieces and keep warm.
2. To make corn relish, heat olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add corn kernals, tomatoes, cilantro, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, until warm and fragrant.
3. Spread butter onto one side of a tortilla. Place butter side down onto a large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle one side of tortilla with goat cheese, and a couple spoonfuls of steak. With a spatula, fold tortilla over filling, and cook each side until browned and crisp. Transfer to a plate and top with a spoon full corn relish and other toppings if desired (sour cream, salsa, extra cilantro).


Sugar High Friday

>> Friday, September 10, 2010

Check it out....

I'm featured in the Round Up on 17 and Baking for the Browned Butter Challenge!

It's really cool to see your name and your picture on someone else's blog.

If you are checking my blog out because of the Sugar High Fridays Round-Up, welcome! I'm sure glad to have you. Leave me a comment and let me know you came by!


Labor Day, Brownies, and Zumba

>> Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Well, that's quite the title, huh? I don't think it could get any more random than that...

It's too bad it's Wednesday, or else I could have linked to Carissa's Miscellany Monday...

1. Labor Day - Before the South Bay Staff Cookout, Archie and I went to do a little exploring of a nearby town that we hadn't been to yet. I had seen a store that sold frozen custard, and I wanted to give it a try!

In Charleston, there was an old store that has since gone out of business called "Grammie's Frozen Custard" (which is what my sister and I have always called our grandmothers), and it was AWESOME! So rich, creamy, smooth. Much creamier than ice cream.
This one only had chocolate and vanilla- vanilla was definitely the favorite!
The cookout was a huge success. Except that it was 92 degrees - inside my house! ;) Northern California is NOT known for it's really hot weather, in fact this has been an unseasonably cool summer, but Labor Day was definitely the exception. We just crashed the backyard (which was the plan anyway), and relaxed out there. Nobody wanted to be inside!! Of course, today, the high was only 67 degrees.

Beating the heat outside

Archie introduced David to a new iphone game! :) He liked it!
Capo representing South Bay - just don't tell anyone he was eating it! He doesn't quite get the catching part of Frisbee.
The guys got a "friendly" game of Bocci ball on.... there may or may not have been a measuring tape out to determine the winner of the game.

2. Zumba- So, tonight, I tried Zumba for the first time. Some girlfriends of mine all got together and tried the free trial class to see if it was something we wanted to do. WOW!

I think that's the best I got! WOW! It was a blast, but WOW! I couldn't stop smiling the whole time. I was laughing too, and all of us girls were cracking up at ourselves throughout the whole thing. If you've known me for more than a week, you know I have no rhythm.

In fact, I was a cheerleader in high school (yes, I know, you don't have to tell me), and as a joke, one of the other girls on the squad said something like this, "Okay, the next 8 count is freestyle, Rebekah, you lead". Yeah, that's how it is for me. So, with that being said, Zumba is Latin American dancing and aerobics mixed together! hahahahaha.

I will say, it was so much fun, and once you get past the first couple minutes of feeling a little silly, and you close your eyes and ignore the skinny little blond girl in front of you who can shake her hips well making you look like cookie monster, it's an awesome workout! Ha. Our instructor was great and fun, and smiled a lot... I couldn't tell if she was laughing at us because we didn't know what we were doing and looked so funny! HA! I will definitely be going back. I've been looking for a "cross-training" day during my half-marathon training, and it's a great option. I burned ~ 1000 calories in the one hour session, and had a complete blast!

Brownies - it's one of those days! I needed brownies. And what do you do when you don't have a box mix on hand, and you need chocolate? You make brownies from scratch!

I'm very sorry, I don't have step by step pictures - mostly because I needed brownies NOW, and I couldn't have brownies NOW if I had to take pictures. You know you've all been there.

These are Emily at Sugar Plum, and these are continuing on my browned butter kick!

The batter tastes AMAZING!! I almost didn't cook the brownies because the batter kicked my craving for brownies. The batter beats eggs and sugar together till it's whipped, and then incorporates the browned butter, making the most yummy, scrumptious, caramelized tasting batter! You will definitely enjoy these!

Classic Cocoa Walnut Brownies: (adapted from Sugar Plum)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper or foil, and coat with cooking spray.

2. Melt butter in small saucepan or skillet over medium heat, and continue to cook until butter is golden brown with small specks in it. Remove pan from the heat and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar for 3 minutes on high speed or until fluffy and creamy.

5. Continue on high for 1 more minute as you pour browned butter and vanilla in. Mix until incorporated (approximately 1 minute).

6. Reduce mixer to low speed and beat in dry ingredients until combined - about 1 minute. Stir in walnuts until combined.

7. Scrape and press batter evenly into baking dish. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until set and toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.

8. Eat brownies because you needed them!


Baby Sammy

>> Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hi There.. Did you miss me? :) I've been temporarily absent! Not on purpose. Life is just a little busy. I have been cooking, but don't always have the time to take the pictures and such.

How are you spending your Labor Day Weekend?

We're having a cookout in our new place! Very excited to have the staff families from South Bay Church over for some fun, relaxing, and eating. We are so blessed to be part of such an awesome team, and we LOVE getting together! Especially when eating is involved.

I'm also very excited I don't have to work on Monday! How about you? Do you have to work? I'm so sorry if you do! Please forgive me as I'm gloating in my non-work mode, eating hamburgers and such!

This weekend, the girls of the South Bay staff threw an adoption baby shower for our pastor's wife and friend Stacie. They just adopted a little boy from Ethiopia, and he is amazingly cute! Such a happy one he is! Sammy Wondimu is almost two, and the timing worked out just great that she was able to bring him to the shower!
Ugh!! Adorable! :) I love this picture of them!

The South Bay Church Staff Wives with Sammy

We did an Amy Atlas style dessert/candy table, and it was so fun! I don't think our's held a candle to Amy Atlas, but we're also on a budget, and don't have nearly the resources. haha. We did the safari theme since Sammy is from Ethiopia, and the colors worked perfectly. He was just happy to have the sweets keep coming! ;)

My pictures turned out HORRIBLE because the sun was shining through at just the right time, so the lighting was awful, and when it had moved, all the guests had arrived, but I took some just to show you anyway! You'll get the idea.

The Full Dessert Bar (Don't look at my car in the background, it was too late to move it - ha)
The Safari Theme Cake (Aimee hand cut the fondant elephants! Amazing!!)
The colorful candy and cupcakes

"Welcome Home Sammy"
The staff girls had such a fun time planning and prepping! We are so blessed to have each other since we all moved here with no family, etc. We all like to be crafty, creative, and fun, so we feed on each other's ideas too! Making the tissue paper pom-poms or "puffs" as I like to call them ha, was easier than we thought!
You can find instructions on making these here:
Congratulations Stacie! We are so excited for you!!!