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Yesterday and Tomorrow

After being in Florida last week, I am craving strawberry shortcake like woah. I think I need to figure out my own “take” on it.

I am sure everyone has already seen this. But on the off-chance you haven’t, and love Harry Potter and happiness – please click it. The original isn’t so bad either.

I finally finished those blasted Ritz crackers. Also my co-worker brought in chocolate chip cookie dough frosting, because everyone should have diabet-us.

I’m waiting for May Designs to have another sale so I can order our honeymoon journal. Have a sale already!

My Grandma gave me Grandpa’s shirt that I bought him in Italy. It smells like him, and is slowly taking over our closet. It makes so happy each time I open the doors. I want to preserve that smell forever. My mom gave me the idea of having it made into a pillow – possibly for a nursery… has anyone ever done this?

Sprouts strawberries are 88 cents for a pound. This is ridiculous. Also the perfect excuse for shortcake experimentation.

I have a huge crush on Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest. And by crush I mean I want to join her family for mealtimes.

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George’s Peach Pie

This post is about more than pie. It is about a man named George, who really really loved pie.

Last week, our family lost one of our rocks, my Grandpa George. Today would have marked his 89th birthday. We miss him so very much – but we also treasure all of the time we had with him. Eating Angel Food Cake, days at the beach, strawberry shortcake, his presence at (almost) all of my performances, Siesta Key, milkshakes, Frankfort… PIE. I realize a lot of my memories of Grandpa have to do with food – this is not surprising – the man loved to eat.

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He and my Grandma met at the University of Michigan, in the registration line. He was in his Navy uniform, and she was looking like the fancy Nancy she is. They began dating soon after, and quickly fell in love. While at U of M George played for the football team and as a Wolverine conquered USC in the 1948 Rose Bowl National Championship Game.

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When George asked Nancy’s father for permission to marry her, he said “Get your degree, and get a job.” So he did both. So began a storied career with General Motors, where he started on the night shift and worked his way up to the executive level. They had four wonderful children, three sons and a daughter – my mother.

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Over the past 27ish years I have gotten to spend a lot of time with George and Nancy, we always headed down to Florida to be with them on Spring Breaks – and that didn’t end in college. While my friends headed to Cancun, I went to my Grandparents. And I don’t regret a single missed margarita. With George, Nancy, and my family was exactly where I wanted to be.

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During the summers George and Nancy would head up to northern Michigan, conveniently about an hour away from my hometown. We would head over for ice cream, milkshakes, and unbelievable Lake Michigan views. We would conduct back-to-school shopping, and my favorite – book shopping! We would help sell odd George Washington rockers to passer-by at the local sidewalk sales, and would enjoy whitefish and Shirley Temples at The Manitou. (Well Grandpa would have his Crown Royal and Nancy her “White Zin.” )

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What strikes me most about my “childhood” memories, is that time just seemed simpler. There weren’t cell phones buzzing constantly, or the internet to distract you from company. (Though they did have WebTV – remember that?) Instead when family was together, we enjoyed each other’s company – even if it was in silence, while reading a book or watching a movie. As much as the convenience of cell phones and being able to look up anything in seconds is fun, I am nervous that my children won’t have the ability to look back at their childhoods the same way I do. It does seem as if our generation is a transitional-generation of sorts, we’ve been exposed so much to ever changing technology. And I just wonder whether it is to our benefit.

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George had an unbelievably dry sense of humor, one I learned to love and appreciate as I grew older. He adored his children, and his six grandchildren – constantly marveling at our accomplishments and supporting us in our failures. Regardless of where he was – he always exercised. A lifelong athlete, with the mentality of a strong Wolverine, he exercised tirelessly. I have memories of seeing him shirtless working hard on the Nordic Trac. He suffered a heart attack prior to me being born, during a jump rope session and described the sensation as “feeling like he wasn’t trying enough.” Seriously.

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His exercise regime could only be rivaled by his dedication to golf. Day-in and day-out, he golfed. He belonged to some of the most epic golf courses, always including my brother even from a young golfing age. He included Charlie once, but as he said “He has a lot of power – we need to work on direction.” When his balance began to deteriorate and he couldn’t golf as much, people asked my Grandma if she was happy to have her husband back. Nancy responded that she couldn’t get as much shopping done.

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To counter-act his failing balance, he began to use the Wii. In the mornings you could find him on his Wii Fit, working hard at balance games, for hours at a time. He often beat me, I didn’t handle it well. In 2012 he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It hit all of us really hard. This man who had always been invincible had a battle none of us had anticipated. Soon after his diagnosis, Charlie and I got engaged. I made him promise he would be at the wedding, he made me promise there would be Crown Royal. George fought valiantly, and beat the Lymphoma. He was cancer free at our wedding, and we danced. It was one of the highlights of the night, at least to me.

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A few months later, in January, my parents and I were down in Florida for a visit. It was then George and Nancy told us that he had been diagnosed with cancer, again. To be honest – I think we all kind of thought “Okay! No biggie – you’ll beat it again.” To us, George was almost immortal. He began treatments immediately, but instead of helping – they hurt. In early February he found himself in the hospital, with low blood counts and pneumonia. The entire family (located in the continental US) flew in to be with him, and say anything we felt needed to be said. I was able to stay for five days, and make him mashed potatoes – and pie, of course. I could see he was getting weaker, and most likely he would not recover. It was a lot to handle, but I also saw how unhappy he was in his state. His athletic drive couldn’t sit and lounge all day, he wanted to be moving, but he just physically could not.

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At the end of March my mom called and told me the end was nearing, Grandpa may pass soon. I made a ticket to come down Easter weekend, knowing that I may miss him but wanting to be with my Grandma and my mom, regardless. At that point, I honestly couldn’t quite imagine the repercussions of his absence from our lives. In the early morning of Thursday, April 2nd – George peacefully passed in his sleep.

Over Easter weekend, my mom, Grandma, and I cried and laughed at all of the memories we have of Grandpa. Of all of the times he brought joy to our lives.

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George and Nancy would have been married for 69 years in September. A feat rarely accomplished these days, their marriage was one of complete selflessness. Their goal was always to make the other happy. They would pinch each other’s tush, and kiss each other throughout the day. As Grandma said, “He did everything for me. And I did everything for him.” In a time when relationships can often be focused on “What can you do for me?” I think their relationship ideology is one we should all strive for; to be selfless, and focus not on each other’s deficiencies, but instead on their wealth. Other than the example they set, one of the greatest gifts they gave me was my Grandma’s wedding ring that I now use as my own. A lovely gold band with their initials and wedding date engraved. It is a constant reminder of their selfless relationship, and inspires me to be a better person and wife.

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I feel so honored to have had a Grandpa in George. One of my favorite things was to make him pie. He often tried to pit my mom and me against each other in pie contests. “Oh this is good, but your mother made a pie last time – it was may have been a little better.” We would humor him, feigning competition. The first time George and Nancy met Charlie we arrived late in Orlando, George drove home from the airport while Nancy and I chatted away. I don’t think George had spoken a word all evening until we arrived home and he took advantage of a brief silence between Johnson women “It has been a while since I had any pie.” He said directly looking at me. “Oh! Grandpa, you want me to make you some pie?” “That’d be very nice.” Charlie watched this interaction with wide-eyes, and that weekend I made Grandpa three large pies. Charlie then set his life relationship goal, to be able to request pie, without actually asking for it. I told him fat chance – it was a George thing.

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In honor of Grandpa, I want to share our Peach Pie recipe, which for the record – isn’t anything special. It is only slightly adapted from everyone’s Betty Crocker fruit pie recipe, but for some reason it always felt a little magical making it for him and my Grandma.

George's Peach Pie

  • Servings: 6-8 slices
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heaping of sugar rounded
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour (or more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp heaping of cinnamon
  • 7-8 cups frozen sliced peaches (or about 6 cups fresh sliced peaches)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Make pastry. (Follow instructions for two crust pie.)
  2. In large bowl, mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon until blended.
  3. Add frozen peaches to flour mixture and make sure all peaches are coated. If you’re using frozen peaches there will be some mixture that has not coated the peaches. (Note: It is best to err on the side of MORE flour, then less. Less flour = pie soup.)
  4. Spoon peaches and flour mixture into pastry lined pie plate. Again – if there is excess flour mixture at the bottom, distribute evenly over the top of peaces once in the crust.
  5. Top peach mixture with lemon juice and sliced butter.
  6. Cover peach goodness with other half of crust.
  7. Cut slits in top of pie for venting and because it looks pretty.
  8. Use a pie shield and pie catcher for all of those extra juices, and to make sure the crust doesn’t burn!
  9. Put in oven for 45 mins – 2 hrs. (If using frozen peaches start with 75 minutes, and check every fifteen minutes. I know this is an unbelievably long cooking range, but when you play with frozen peaches, you may end up undercooked. The rule is that the pie is done if the center filling is bubbling through the crust.)
  10. Let set for 30 mins – 1 hr before serving. (This is a step George struggled with…)
  11. Slice and serve alone, or with ice cream – George’s favorite. (Or put in a blender WITH ice cream and milk, and make a pie milkshake… trust me on this one.)

Surfing (SD Bucket List #1)

It goes to say that one of the first questions people ask after finding out we live in San Diego is “Do you surf!?” Well before last week the answer was “Nope!” and now after last week the answer is still “Nope!”

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Not because we didn’t have an excellent instructor – we truly did. Doug at Surf Sessions was the absolute bomb diggity. 

Our lesson started by getting fitted in our wetsuits. Heads up – if you go with Surf Sessions, they are operated out of a tent on the beach across from the beach’s paid parking. The tent is green and to the left when you reach the beach, right underneath the grassy part. That took us a while to figure out. After we got into our suits we grabbed some boards and headed down to the beach.

All I could think of was this scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. One of my favorite movies of ALL time. Doug went over our “footing” (spoiler alert: Jason Segel is NOT doing his footing correctly) and a little soon for my taste – we were out on the water! 

My first impression was that the waves were much MUCH bigger than I anticipated. I think I envisioned kiddie pool waves. But these things were mammoth. At least to me. Doug would assist by holding onto the board as a wave approached in order to steady during our jump up. Not shocking at all was that Charlie was better than me. He got the hang of it pretty quickly and graduated from Doug’s assistance. I, on the other hand, insisted on jumping into warrior position – as opposed to surfing position. I blame yoga.

Doug kept yelling “YOU’RE A SURFER! NOT A WARRIOR!” as I would topple into the water. My best “ride” or “wave” I almost hit some children. That was exciting. 

I wouldn’t say surfing is addicting – the taste of saltwater remained in my mouth for a bit longer than I liked – but I definitely want to try again.

Now we're official. We're throwing signs. We belong.

Now we’re official. We’re throwing signs. We belong.


Afterwards, Charlie immediately claimed soreness – I said “Oh! I’m not sore at all, I’m totally fine!” After a ten minute nap I woke up and could barely move – surfing is HARD work. Though I think in my case the soreness was more related to falling than surfing.

We finished our evening with TOSTADAS of course.

I’m so glad we finally checked this off of our SD Bucket List – and I truly can’t wait to get out on the water again!

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Italian Prosciutto Chicken

This was actually the first dinner I ever made for Charlie. I am pretty confident a smoke alarm may have been an unwanted guest at our dinner… but it all worked out, right?

This is a main dish that goes with pretty much any side, though we, of course, prefer potatoes. I think Prosciutto is one of the best creations on this earth today. At the market here there is a stand that has homemade prosciutto. It is $14 – per quarter pound. As in $56 a pound. If I had all the money in the world I would buy the wheel and eat it with a fork. It was SO good.

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To be honest one of the things I am most looking forward to during our honeymoon. Other than spending time with Charlie, drinking beer, drinking wine, and hiking… is the FOOD. I can’t wait to be in Italy EATING. Just eating all the food. All the gelato. All the prosciutto. All the cheese. California may be short on water, but give me a week in Italy and it will be short on food.

Digressions aside, this is a fast and easy “company” meal. Something to make with short notice and very few ingredients.

Prosciutto Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • italian seasoning (our favorite is Spice House Third Ward Italian)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Take two slices of prosciutto – lay out next to each other so they are touching. Season with italian seasoning of choice, and 1/2 of the parmesan. (Repeat)
  2. Place chicken breast at the bottom of prosciutto and roll tightly, end with fold side down. (Repeat)
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil over a skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Place chicken fold side down into skillet.
  5. Reduce heat to medium.
  6. Turn after four minutes, or when prosciutto begins to crisp.
  7. Repeat step six until prosciutto is crisp and chicken is cooked through

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Yesterday and Tomorrow

Costco recently had Ritz Crackers on sale. Because clearly we all need 15 rolls of Ritz Crackers. 12 rolls later and I am praying they disappear.

I fell in love with a pair of Warby Parkers. Cannot wait to get my prescription so I can be hip like the cool kids.

Last weekend we went to LA to see friends who were in town and celebrate a bride-to-be. We went out to brunch and I was served one waffle for fifteen dollars. I now understand how everyone in LA is skinny.

The Birks did not  work out, but I am forever in love with Ecco’s Summer Flat. Need to buy it in black ASAP. It is like a hug on my foot. Any suggestions for comfy sandals?

I am now backpack scoping for the honeymoon. I’m thinking a small Vera Bradley backpack? I like that it has a hidden zipper. But then I found out Longchamp makes backpacks too. So… come on!

Really wish I had known about this four years ago.

Happy Weekend!

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Plated Review

I love grocery shopping. Probably more than the average person, so when Plated showed up on Rue La La I wasn’t that interested in trying it out. While I was debating whether to buy the voucher, I went to Plated’s website and looked at the meal options – and to my surprise, they looked awesome! For instance one of the available meals I ordered was Skate Fish – something I have only had once, and have been really wanting to try to cook myself. The perfect excuse. The Rue La La discount + my store credit = let’s try this sucker out!

Well the week came (last week) where Plated was needed in our lives. Mostly because we had blown the majority of our food budget on beer and eating out while Tim was here. I went on to Plated’s website to search for meals. Their website is incredibly user friendly. I settled on their Baked Gnocchi, Skate Fish, and Tunisian Chicken, with a scheduled delivery date of 3/25.

I got notice that the box was on its way on Monday, and I was super excited!!! When I got home Tuesday the box was waiting by my door. Not sure who invented the packaging for Plated, but I assume it is an ex-NASA employee. This box is on lockdown. You could easily repurpose it as a cooler.

The first thing I noticed was that one of the recipes they sent me was wrong. (Whoops!) I called to let them know and they apologized profusely and offered to email the right recipe to me, and explained that all of the recipes were on the website as well. The first awesome part was that I got to talk to a real human with very little hassle, and the second part was that they were so nice! I wasn’t upset – just needed the recipe.

Each recipe came with its own bag of goodies – and if an ingredient was loose, it was still labeled. Very organized!!! And I love organized. Like, a lot.

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The first recipe we tried was the Baked Gnocchi. I set up all of the ingredients and read briefly through the directions. Word to the wise – don’t do this, instead read the directions VERY thoroughly. What threw me, was that the directions are given in paragraph form. I am more of a list person – so I definitely skipped over a few items in the paragraph, which caused some confusion later. (Not their fault… my fault). Another oopsie – they forgot to send garlic! We got two packets of oregano, but no garlic! Luckily we pretty much always have garlic in the house… for vampire protection and such. When I let them know about the missing ingredient, they credited me $8, which I thought was nice.

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Tucker was all about Plated.

I started the gnocchi recipe – it was pretty easy, it did take a little longer than they said. But that may have been my fault… I omitted basil from the sauce, since I’m allergic. (Fun fact!) The sauce was rich and delicious, but also super simple. I’ll definitely make it again using my own ingredients. The gnocchi was great – well made, and considering that I have yet to master gnocchi from scratch, much more successful than our last homemade attempt at gnocchi. In my opinion there was not enough cheese, because there is never enough cheese.

On Thursday we made Skate Fish Schnitzel – it was absolutely delicious but made a disaster out of our kitchen. Like tornado disaster. I think it was worth it. The weird thing about this recipe was that an ingredient (parsley) was given directions on how to prepare – but not what to do with it! We figured it was probably for garnish so we used it during plating. Also, we made the mistake of starting the sauce when the pan was too hot. Insert vinegar explosions and “oh sugars.” Total failure. I didn’t know you could burn mustard. A little bit of lemon on the Skate went a long way, and I like to pretend that this made it “light” because it had less butter.

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The sides to the Skate Fish were purple potatoes and fennel. I have had some experience with purple potatoes, which are potatoes that are purple… not terribly complicated. The fennel, however, I had never cooked with. We use fennel seed pretty frequently, but I had never started from the raw stuff. It is really good! See this is the benefit of a service like Plated – you end up trying different foods, and liking them! Definitely a win for Plated.

Our skate fish night was also Tucker’s birthday – so we finished off our Skate Fish with Sprinkles cupcakes. I am #TeamSMore ALL THE WAY. Charlie said the Salty Caramel was average. I don’t even understand why it is a competition. It should be S’More time all the time. Tucker was excited because #TuckerWantsSome finally became #TuckerCanHaveSome! Cannot wait to try out some dog treat recipes in the next month or so.

The last meal was Tunisian Chicken. To be honest I pretty much ordered this for Charlie. He likes spicy food WAY more than me, and this looked spicy and delicious.

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The prep was pretty simple, marinate the chicken while you saute some onions and smoosh some tomatoes with your hands. *Cooking Tip* Make sure to remove the seeds when you are cooking with peppers. I learned this the hard way. Actually, Charlie learned for me – I basically made him pepper spray nachos the first year we were dating. It’s a miracle we made it. And in the interest of full disclosure, we added waffle fries. Because we apparently are incapable of eating dinner without a starch.

I had never cooked with chicken thighs prior to this, and I have to say I prefer the breast meat. But Charlie was 100% totally sold on the meal. What is nice about Plated is that even though they sent “spice mixture” they also included in the recipe all of the spice contents, so we can replicate the mixture.

Charlie wants to take the sauce portion of the dish and make a vegetable stew to serve over cous-cous and goat/feta cheese. I think I love him and want to marry him all over again.

Overall, Plated was a great experience. I can definitely see the advantage of a service like this if you’re a busy professional, or live in a city like LA where it takes 3 hours to drive the mile to the grocer. I think I’ll stick to doing my own shopping for now – but I am definitely going to keep my account for the future!

*Please note that Plated in no way compensated me for this average review. I’m not that cool.

Bluewater Grille (SD Bucket List #17)

Even though we had this on our “Bucket List” it was really just a front to go there again. Because it is The Happiest Place on Earth. Bluewater is a Fish Market and Grille. Meaning that you can either buy fresh fish to go, or order fish to eat there.

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The menu is pretty simple, you get to choose from many different types of fish, but your options are Taco, Sandwich, Salad, and Plate. You then pick a marinade (Lemon Butter, Lemon-Garlic Butter, Teriyaki, Blackened, Chipotle, Bourbon Butter, or Bronzed) and then order Waffle Fries. Because they are delicious.

I am not a huge cabbage fan, so I’ve never loved Tacos. But Charlie says they are THE BEST IN THE WORLD. And our dear friend who actually grew up in San Diego, but had never been to Bluewater, said they were the best she had had as well. So that proves it. #science

The Sandwich (my choice) comes on this freshly baked delicious bread, with a delicious tartar sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and the fish of your choice. I always 86 the onion, and add avocado. Because it is California and avocados should be on everything. I do have to add the disclaimer that I usually am a huge tartar sauce hater, but this is the most delicious sandwich sauce that has ever existed.

The Salad and Plate are both larger portions, and kind of self-explanatory on their menu. Honestly the fish serving sizes in the Taco and the Sandwich are WAY more than enough for us – so we usually stick to those. The appetizers Charlie loves are the Ceviche and Cioppino. We actually just recently started getting the calamari. I swear they look like chicken nuggets, and they are so freaking delicious it almost hurts my mouth.

The only downside about Bluewater is that you have to wait in line. For a long time. But it is really fun people watching, and as long as you anticipate the wait, it won’t seem that bad. If you’re really impatient, or just don’t feel like cooking, you can order To-Go and skip the line and eat it at home. But don’t try and be sneaky and eat a To-Go order in the restaurant. They don’t tolerate those kinds of shenanigans.

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If we do move from San Diego, this will be one of the places we miss the most. I hope if you’re in town you’ll stop by. It is really close to the airport, so you basically have no excuse, whether you are coming or going… or live here already!

xx

Amanda

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Breakfast Burritos

For how much I say I don’t like Mexican food… I seem to post a lot of Mexican recipes? Maybe I’ve just been lying to myself, and I actually love Mexican food…

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Anyway, digressions aside… this is the ultimate morning-after-being-overserved breakfast. We made it originally when Tim was in town, constructing a mini-burrito bar in the apartment for everyone to serve themselves from. We combined all of our favorite breakfast foods/burrito fillings and made them into a delicious breakfast burrito! Yum. Charlie and his brother took it one step further, and actually crushed tortilla chips as a first layer to the burrito. So creative!

Breakfast Burritos

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 mins prep 1 hr total
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 1 lb protein (we chose bacon – of course)
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese
  • 1 cup guacamole
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • dried rosemary (or preferred potato seasoning)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon in a single layer on paper.
  3. Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into a cast iron skillet. Cut potatoes into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes. Add potatoes to skillet and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
  4. Place both taters and bacon into heated oven. Set time for 15 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes, check and stir taters and check bacon. Continue to check in five minute intervals.
  6. The taters should take about 30 minutes until they’re soft and just starting to crisp. After they soft in the oven, place on stovetop and crisp on medium-high.
  7. The bacon will take about 20 minutes to crisp. After bacon is done, chop into 1 inch pieces.
  8. While bacon and taters are cooking, chop tomato and pepper and place in a bowl.
  9. In a separate skillet – cook eggs as desired. (We chose scrambled!)
  10. After all burrito innards are finished cooking – line a large flour tortilla with cheese (and crumbled chips if desired). Microwave for 30 seconds.
  11. Fill warmed and cheesy burrito as desired. Roll up, and top with guacamole!

*Chef Note: I did make a little “sauce” out of the beans/tomatoes/peppers… but I preferred the fresh ingredients better. If you would like to make the sauce, just mix a portion of the fresh veggies and beans and sauté them for 10-15 minutes until soft.

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Prosciutto Wrapped Dandelion Greens

We recently received Dandelion Greens in our CSA, and I found myself in the all-too-familiar “What on earth is this?” Luckily, per the previous link, our CSA Company, JR Organics, does a great job of describing what the contents in our box are, and also how to store everything! I figured the taste would be pretty close to Arugula, but it was actually more bitter and less pepper-y. Either way, it was pretty delicious.

I wanted to use it for an appetizer over the weekend, not because we were having people over. But because I like snacking. Charlie wanted to make his Reuben Dip, so I decided to add Dandelion Greens and Parmesan Pups to make it a wholesome rounded meal. (Please note, I am not a nutritionist, but I do know this is not a wholesome rounded meal.)

I used a Martha Stewart salad and picture as inspiration and ended up making the wraps a lot denser than I think I would if we were bringing this over to someone’s house, or using it as just an appetizer. I am going to have the recipe reflect a thinner filling and more prosciutto. Because the world could ALWAYS us more prosciutto. For real.

I also got to work with dates for the first time. You want to cut them hot-dog length, not hamburger-length, to de-pit them.

Also, Tucker once again was VERY interested in the meals we prepared. I feel like #TuckerWantsSome could be the next #TheoandBeau…

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Prosciutto Wrapped Dandelion Greens

  • Servings: 10 prosciutto rolls
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 5 Cups Dandelion Greens, with the ends trimmed
  • 5 ounces Medjool Dates (about 14 small), halved and pitted
  • 3 ounces crumbled Blue Cheese
  • Lemon Juice (about 1 ½ lemons worth)
  • 8 ounces Prosciutto

Directions:

  1. Wash and trim dandelion greens until about 4-5 inches long.
  2. Halve and pit medjool dates (see tip above for pitting dates).
  3. Place washed dandelion greens in a bowl with blue cheese and dates.
  4. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper to taste.
  5. Mix contents until elements are well coated.
  6. Lay out prosciutto on a cutting board or other hard surface.
  7. Stack dandelion greens, dates, and blue cheese on top of prosciutto.
  8. Tightly roll prosciutto, placing fold side down on a serving tray.
  9. Repeat steps until you’re all out of prosciutto or filling.

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Sea Cave Tour with Everyday California

Everyday California was once again – the bomb diggity.

This time around we signed up for a Snorkel and Kayak tour. It was an absolutely gorgeous steaming-hot day of 95 degrees. I had convinced myself that my new super spiffy rash guard would be enough to snorkel in the Pacific Ocean. For background – the only other place I have snorkeled is Cayman. And I figured – I’m from Michigan! I can go swimming in cold water! Well, Charlie pulled the husband card, insisted we rent wetsuits and I am SO GLAD that we did. I don’t care if you like to go swimming in your skivvies in Antarctica. The Pacific Ocean is COLD. C.O.L.D. I took the opportunity all day to thank him for his wiseness and repeat those priceless marital words “You were right!” over-and-over again.

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Anyway – enough on wetsuits. We headed out into the ocean with a group of about fifteen other people… To be honest, I figured with it being a Sea Cave Tour – we would actually be going into the caves – but we didn’t! I’m not sure if that was because of tide, or if we’re never allowed. Instead we pulled up next to the caves, docked, and then jumped in the water to do some snorkeling.

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We saw lots of Garibadli (State Marine Fish of California/Giant Goldfish/Dr. Seuss character) as well as some sea lions sun-bathing on the rocks.

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Charlie and Tim saw a leopard shark, but I was back in the boat at that time. I was so bummed! Leopard sharks are totally harmless, their mouth is the size of a quarter, and they’re more likely to give you a hickey than a chomp.

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It was such a beautiful day and so much fun to be out on the water. I was a little bummed we didn’t have our ridiculous aquatic dolphin-bonding experience like the time before, but that may have just been beginners luck! Still love Everyday California – had awesome guides (again) and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a water-based tour in La Jolla. (For more “tips” see this post.)

Side note – one of the fun things about getting “film” developed is realizing how magical digital cameras are. At the same time – it is so fun to be surprised by what pictures we “caught”! Even though the instant gratification of a digital camera is fun – it was exciting to have a little throwback to our disposable camera days! (No filter needed. The film is literally a filter…) Enjoy the rest of the photos!