Tuesday, April 15, 2014

California Dreaming

Not to long ago, I took a trip to Northern California to visit my sister, Hayden. My brother, Grant, met up with me in the San Jose airport. We had a long overdue sibling weekend. We stayed a couple days in Monterey. My favorite part was the drive on Highway 1 to Big Sur. The scenery was amazing!

We stop at an amazing restaurant for brunch. The food was so amazing, I would recommend it for dinner as well! They have a bakery up front. Grab some pastries or cookies to go and enjoy on your hike or drive. 

We also ventured out to Carmel-by-the-sea. It is such a cute town! I wish we had spent more time here. They have lots of wine tasting places, cute shops, and an amazing cured meats bistro we ate lunch at. 

We drove into the city to glance at the Golden Gate Bridge. I have always loved San Francisco and fell back in love again. 

The trip was relaxing. I had forgotten how beautiful Northern California is. Cannot wait to get back out that way!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rob's Thirsty Thirty- by Rob

A couple of weekends ago, we celebrated Rob's 30th birthday in Austin. I asked him to write a post about his weekend; what a treat! I put some comments inside {}. I also want to take a moment to share his great invitations. Erin from Lexsdesignco did a wonderful job at crafting this for us! I found her on Etsy and am so glad I did. I believe these started the weekend off right! 

Special moments in life shared with others

This year is unlike most years for myself, for now I have been on this big round ball for three decades. It gives me time to reflect on the past and how many great moments and experiences I have already had. I also look forward to the many more that I hope to come. At any rate, I had the absolute best 30th birthday ever! I was able to spend it with close friends and family for a weekend in Austin, TX. What a time! Started out the weekend with dinner on Friday night at a place called Banger's. It was a German beer garden, Texas style. All sausage is made in-house and they even had veg options for my bud Tom and his wife. They had to ask the waitress and double check cause they couldn't believe that it was not meat. Also enjoyed a beer that had been aged in 30 year old scotch barrels, I thought it seemed fitting for the occasion. 

{The nice thing about Banger's is the atmosphere. It is community tables, so seating our group of 13 wasn't a huge problem on a Friday night. Plus their food is the bomb!}

The following day, the wife lined out a limo ride for all of us to a Belgium inspired brewery Adelbert's. First off, I had never really rode in a limo before. One word, wow! Nothing like riding up to a brewery in style. The beer was really good, although I am a fan of Belgium style beers especially farmhouse ales. They had a really nice one called the Scratchin' Hippo, yum yum! For lunch we all had food from a Korean food truck {Bimbibowl} that pulled up to the brewery. It was quite tasty! 

{I typically do not like Belgium beers, but Adelbert's had two beers I and my girlfriends enjoyed- The Traveler and The Philosphisizer. They were very helpful in setting up a table for us and accommodating our group.}

After the brewery and tour, and getting to just hang out with everyone we all dispersed for a well needed power nap so we could then all meet up for dinner at Fado's Irish Pub. Now I have been to Austin several times, and even out to Sixith Street, but never down to I guess the area you would call Lower Congress near the Colorado River. I have never seen so many people and all mostly my age. Although now that I am 30 perhaps they were younger.. Austin sure is one happening city though with restaurant after restaurant and bar after bar, all seemingly full! Anyways, Fado's Irish Pub was better than expected and the service was even more special since are waiter was from the motherland. We finished the evening off at a bar called Handle Bar were all the bartenders sported pretty nice staches, although I def think I brought on some good competition. 

{Fado's is an authentic Irish Pub. The restaurant is full of nooks and crannies that can make your meal a intimate one even though it is a pub. I am not sure if I would recommended it for the size of our group because of seating layout, but the service and food was impeccable!}

All and all, it was an awesome weekend. Any time is good when I have an excuse to get all my friends and family together and be able to spend time with them. Thanks to all and here is to the next 30+ to go.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Mousse

For Valentine's Day, or any day for that matter, I desire a chocolate dessert. I found a recipe for a paleo chocolate mousse from Primal Palette. Since it is just the two of us, I shortened the recipe. Also, Rob doesn't like raspberries (my favorite!) so we had to change that up. You can use any berry or fruit in this recipe. I tossed the chocolate mousse with blackberries for Rob and he still enjoyed his. Since you use individual soufflé dishes, you can use anything you want. I would like to try pineapple next time. It's simple to whip together; could definitely be used for that last minute idea or craving. My recipe makes two small servings.

Paleo Chocolate Mousse

3.5 oz 70% dark chocolate, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of coconut milk, scalded
Fresh raspberries (or any berry) for garnish

1. Blend chopped dark chocolate, egg, and vanilla in a high speed blender until smooth.
2. In a small saucepan heat coconut milk until almost boiling, you will see steam rising from the milk, but it should not be bubbling yet.
3. Slowly pour the scalded coconut milk into the blender and blend until smooth. 
4. Place as many fresh berries in the bottom of soufflĂ© dishes.

5. Pour chocolate cream mixture into the souffle dishes over the raspberries.
6. Cover each dish and chill in the refrigerator for two hours.
7. Garnish with shaved dark chocolate and a fresh berry. (I used chocolate chip to garnish mine)