Chili Cook-off, Gingerbread Houses and Christmas Trees

On Saturday, we invited a few friends over to bake cookies and have a chili cook-off. We made two chili’s, a coworker of mine brought a white bean chili, and two family friends brought two other chili’s. We had two different types of cornbread, and enjoyed one tasty meal! We tasted all of them, and then voted. My dad’s house chili won hands down! I was so proud.

Our Chili Cook-off Group

Our Chili Cook-off Group

On Sunday we baked our family breakfast pastry, called Nuthorns. They are amazing. My brother and Roomie tackled making a gingerbread house to beat all houses. Being an engineer and math teacher, they created a structurally sound but still beautiful house.

 

We had a tasty dinner last night of raclette, and enjoyed dinner just as a family last night. Today we had aunts, friends and neighbors stop by to exchange presents. I lucked out this year! More on that later.

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Now we are preparing dinner for the group of us; honey mustard salad, grilled kebobs, potatoes au gratin, an onion grape  tarte, lemon sorbet and apple pie! I am looking forward to a yummy family dinner.

I hope everyone is enjoying time with their family, I know I am. We played lots of wii today, and hung out with four pups!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Love,

-S

 

Cranberry Cocktails, Friends, and Holiday Parties,

This past Saturday I hosted a holiday party at my parent’s house. We went to the Crucible Faire in the afternoon so I invited Robert, Annie and Alli over to help tidy the house up for the party. They were a magnificent help and in no time at all we had the place ready for a party!

We had a tasty cranberry lemon cocktail, apple and fig jam crustini’s, a cold pesto pasta salad, bread and cheese tray, cranberry walnut salad, and a shrimp fritatta. People came in their winter best, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Robert took the photos, and as always, did an amazing job.

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2013_12_14_holiday_party-36Earrings: Stella and Dot       Necklace: Apricot Lane

Dress: Macy’s (Sold out)      Shoes: Steve Madden

Have you been going to any holiday parties lately? I love seeing how people dress up for the holidays! Finals finished on Friday (i had all my grades in Thursday!), and I can breathe again!

I am done with all my holiday shopping, and I am now looking forward to playing lots with the pups, playing on the wii and eating yummy things!

Happy Sunday!

Love,

-S

Shopping, My 25th Birthday, Dinosaur Muffins and Cooking on Sundays

This week was insanely busy, which is why I have not had a spare minute to post about everything.  I hope that with time I will get better at balancing work and blogging. If you have any tips, let me know!

The Roomie and I had a five day weekend from school, which was perfect timing as my birthday was smack dab in the middle of it!  On Thursday we slept in, to the gloriously late hour of 9am. We did a few things around the house and then went off to the mall. The Roomie and I found many cute things. We scored at pretty much every store.

Our shopping haul.

Our shopping haul.

On Friday I hit the gym, and it provided a much needed round of happy endorphins. Since I started working full time, getting to the gym every day has fallen to the way side. Starting in a week I hope to build it back into my routine. From the gym I went to my parents house to get Lightroom 5 set up on my mom’s and my laptop. For dinner we grabbed tasty greek food at Opa’s in downtown Los Altos. We had tickets to see Les Mis at the Saratoga Theatre, where two friends of mine were in lead role. I look forward the most to shows with actors I know personally.

After another glorious sleep-in, I set off for the grocery store. I picked up some snack but most everything was for my birthday party later that day. Around 4, people started trickling in, and we munched on tasty Mexican tacos and guacamole. We drank margaritas and horchata and enjoyed the warm evening air. We took a group photo, and I had everyone sign the frame that I would eventually put it in. People drifted in and out, and it was a glorious melding of friends, food and fun.

I made pumpkin spiced dinosaur muffins!

I made pumpkin spiced dinosaur muffins!

Our group photo.

Our group photo.

This morning after the Roomie and I tied up the house I wrote my thank you notes for my birthday gifts. We went over to the Castle and I tucked into cooking with my dad. We made ham and shrimp croquetten, mac’n’cheese and quiche lorraine. After a long round of dishes ( i swear we used every cooking utensil possible!) we tasted the mac’n’cheese. It was delicious and I look forward to munching on it after a long day at work next week.

Tomorrow I will be babysitting the whole day and Tuesday we start back  at work. I have one day of teaching, and then I fly out at the crack of dawn (have I mentioned I hate mornings?!) for my cousins wedding in upstate New York. More details on that later.

How was your weekend? What did you do? How do you balance getting you time and getting your errands done?

I hope you had a lovely weekend.

Love,

-S

Mum’s Birthday Dinner, Baking, and A New Car

Last night we celebrated Mum’s birthday. We had a delicious dinner. We started off with some avocado crostini’s.

Avocado Crustini's

Avocado Crostini’s

We had Stolen Chicken for the main course. I love the potatoes and veggies that come along with it.

Our tasty stolen chicken.

Our tasty stolen chicken.

My Dad has been bringing in ripe tomatoes everyday from his garden. He tried a new kind this summer and they look amazing. The smell of them feels like summer is still here.

Fresh tomatoes from the garden

Fresh tomatoes from the garden

 

Today was a great day. I woke up and read in bed for a while with one snuggly pup (the other was at puppy class). I went grocery shopping.  The grey skies and cool weather put in the mood to bake. I started with making some chai, and then tumbled into baking some banana bread.

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Robert came over and showed off his swanky new car! Its a 2013 Honda Civic. It’s beautiful! It was pouring for a while so we settled on making some carrot-cake in celebration of his new wheels.

His celebratory carrot-cake!

His celebratory carrot-cake!

After a while it stopped raining and I was able to snap a picture of the his new wheels! He refuses to let me take a normal picture of him, so pardon his silly faces on all of the photos.

The new vehicle.

The new vehicle + his carrot cake doggy bag!

I'm not sure what he is doing here...

I’m not sure what he is doing here…

After the flour had settled we watched something on Netflix and the other pup and I snuggled on the couch. I stepped away to gather my things and she curled up in the warmth of my spot. Isn’t she cute?

My other snuggly puppy

My other snuggly puppy

How was your Saturday? Did you get a chance to kick back and relax? Have any fun things planned for tomorrow?

Love,

-S

Beaches, Tahoe, Summer Salads, Macaroons and Silly Songs

My roommate and I drove up to Tahoe to join my family in a relaxing three day weekend. The cabin is normally our retreat, where we eat, sleep, watch T.V. and recuperate. It was nice to breathe fresh mountain air, and enjoy a simple life for a few days.

Chimney Beach

Chimney Beach

On Sunday my father and I drove home. We stopped at one of our local haunts, a fantastic pizza joint in downtown Sacramento called Hot Italian. We enjoyed a tasty summer salad and a lovely pizza.

Peaches, gorgonzola, almonds, and balsamic dressing.

Peaches, Gorgonzola, almonds, balsamic dressing.

Today I did a dry run of making macaroons. Now, I have never made them before, but I have done a bit a baking. While my ambition was high, so was the temperature in my kitchen. While the taste of our finished product was delicious, I will work on perfecting the look of the macaroon, which I think was affected by the extreme heat on this late August day.

Vanilla Macaroons

In other news, I recently found this talented photographer who takes stunning work with an Iphone. You’ll have to check it out to really believe it.

Lachlan Payne is one fantastic photographer.

I‘ve also become slightly obsessed with this accoustic song: Just try it