Friday, February 08, 2013

Cheesecake and a Good Read

Our nieces came to visit last weekend for a birthday party.  Miss Serah had a Barnes and Noble giftcard burning a hole in her pocket, so we decided to make an evening of it.

We took her into Seattle, to the Barnes and Noble at Pacific Place.  Then we made a surprise stop at Cheesecake Factory!  YUM!  Serah had never been before, so this was especially exciting and delicious.

After perusing the 800 page menu, Serah finally settled on Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake.  Oh my, it was DEVINE!  Here's Serah giving her cheesecake Bunny Ears.  Hee.

Our friend, Allie, was along for the ride.  She does not like cheesecake.  (Heretic!!)  We let her pick this yummy Godiva Chocolate Brownie Sundae.  I like it.  Very Art Deco... for a dessert.

Erik got the Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake.  Yum.  Just yum.

Of course, I had to get the Red Velvet Cheesecake.  OMG.  I dream about this dessert.  I thought it was a seasonal offering last summer, but apparently it's permanent!  YES!!!  If you haven't tried it, get yourself to a Cheesecake Factory -- STAT.  Trust me on this.  You can thank me later.

Lastly, we have to thank Erik's Mom, Kim, for the Cheesecake Factory gift card!  Thank you thank you!  It was sooooooooooo good!  YUM.



Thursday, February 07, 2013

A Pretty Shower

Our friends Danny and Cynthia are expecting their first baby soon:  Hannah.  Cynthia has about 62 sisters.  Her oldest sister, Korine, hosted the shower in her home last weekend.

I've only been to Korine's house twice.  Ever.  

1st Visit:  About 5 years ago to drop off some boxes she was storing for Danny and Cynthia.

2nd Visit:  Last weekend for the baby shower.

What Korine didn't know (until I told her) was that my short-short visit to her kitchen was inspiring!  Of course, I didn't take a photo, but I loved the color!  It was a nice, bright, lime green.

I picked the exact same shade for our kitchen and Erik painted it to match a couple of years ago.  She had no idea her kitchen was so inspiring!  :)

There were so many yummy new foods to try! Spicy jellies, yummy cheeses!   

I also tried a Macaron for the first time!  YUM!!!!  I know these are super popular right now, but I've never had one myself.  So good!  The one I tried was peanut butter and jelly flavor.  So yummy and unique, like nothing I've ever tasted before.  Now I really want to try making them! 



Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Little Brother, Big Sister

I love this shot!  This is my niece, Serah and nephew, Javan.  Their mom gets credit for dressing them in such fabulously colorful clothing.  Photographing them was a must.  

Look at those big eyes!

Love this picture of Javan.  So excited!  He sees a bird and wants to get closer.Do you think the birdie's behind the tree?

There he goes!!

Big boy climbed up all by himself.  So proud!

 With big sis, Serah, taking good care of him.



Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Across the Mountains

Sometimes work takes me out of my neighborhood.  Our office is in the Seattle area, but we have customers in five states.

Last week, we went on a little road trip to visit customers in Eastern Washington.  This is the first real snow I've seen all winter.  It was hanging heavy on the trees in the pass, and gently falling a little on the other side.
I really wanted to stop at the Antique Mall, but was out-voted by my male counterparts.  Boo!

I wonder how Indian John would feel about the DOT naming a rest area after him.  Not exactly something to brag to the folks back home about.
Yeah we are!  Like falling back into an 80s rock video.

A little Bon Jovi from the album Slippery When Wet.  You're welcome.  ;)

I just really, really like this sign.  Pretty blue star is begging to be scrapbooked.

...and back home over the pass to Seattle we go.



Friday, February 01, 2013

Starbucks Vanilla Spice Latte

Good morning!
This is my first Starbucks latte of the new year!  I've given them up you know.  :)  In favor of frugal living and  being in control of our finances.

I'll tell you a secret though.  I still get my coffee flavoring from Starbucks (sugar free vanilla).  They make the best flavoring!  Plus, I have a few Starbucks gift cards, so with zero guilt, I decided to try one of their new drinks:  Vanilla Spice Latte!  

I've really been looking forward to trying one!  Skinny Vanilla Lattes are my favorite, so this seemed similar enough to be yummy, yet different enough to be interesting.

So... the verdict?  It was alright.  It kinda tasted like a toned down version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Less sweet than a regular vanilla latte.  More spicy.  I didn't hate it, but it's not really my jam.  I enjoyed it, but I'll stick to my usual.  

Have you tried any of the new drinks?  What did you think?



Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Cheesemonger's Table

We were reading about The Cheesemonger's Table in an Everett Herald article a few weeks ago.  It sounded AMAZING!!
Cow Whimsy - moo
I'm a little bit of a cheese freak, and a Macaroni and Cheese connoisseur.  This place promised both!  What more could you want from life? 

Erik ordered this magnificent rueben sandwich.  (The Famous Turkey Reuben - Zoe’s Turkey, Swiss, slaw & thousand island on rye.)

It's served with popcorn!  How odd, you say?  No, no, my friend!  How DELICIOUS!   The popcorn is tossed with Truffle Oil and tastes phenomenal!  YUM.

If you know me, I'm always on the hunt for a decent mac 'n cheese.  So many nights I just need my mac!  But nobody seems to make a good one, and Blue Box is hardly a substitute.

Ahhhh... Cheesemonger's Mac and Cheese (Ethan Stowell’s bronze cut pasta with the Cheesemonger’s special 3-cheese sauce and breadcrumbs)... you did not disappoint!  I have a new, local favorite!  I'd say it's definitely not a "Soul Food" mac 'n cheese.  Definitely fanchy schmancy mac, but oh so so so so very good!  Two thumbs up.

We also wanted to share a Meat and Cheese plate, since this is what they're known for.  A helpful employee asked a few questions when we came through the door to determine what types of cheeses we'd like to try.  We picked the International Cheese Plate - USA version.  

The employee convinced Erik to try a new kind of goat cheese.  (Erik gags on the goat.)  I loved it!!  Erik says it still tasted "goaty" but "less goaty than the goat we had in Paris".  LOL!  I would say it tasted more like a Romano cheese.  Very yummy!

We also tried a rich blue cheese and a white cheddar.  Rounding out the plate was some Finnochiona salami (Yum!  Had this at Salumi too and loved it!  The Finocchiona here was more mellow with less of a bite.), some fig spread and a baguette.
Sneaky Roof Cows
All in all, a REALLY great time.  We can't wait to come back with friends some time soon.  If you're in Edmonds, WA, don't miss The Cheesemonger's Table.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Just a Little Treat

Menchie's, a cute frozen yogurt chain, has a shop near us.  We popped in the other day for a little treat.  Erik's absolute favorite is the Dole Whip.  Yes!  They carry the same frozen yogurt we thought was only available at Disneyland (and Walt Disney World)!!!!  Awesome, right?!  :)

I like Dole Whips, but my favorites tend toward sweeter flavors.  On this trip, I had White Chocolate Raspberry, Red Velvet Cake and Oreo Cookie!  Yum!



Monday, January 28, 2013

Nessie, my Beloved

This is Nessie.  She is one of our my favorite wedding gifts.  Well, let's be clear.  She's one of MY favorites, but since she keeps me sane, she is also Erik's favorite by default.  Right?  :)

I started drinking Lattes in high school.  I remember the very first espresso stand in Everett.  It opened in early 90s on Evergreen Way:  Bean Me Up Espresso.  Hehe.  They're still in business today.  

Ever since my first latte, I've been a huge espresso fan.  We've had several espresso machines over the years, but none worked as well, or made as good coffee as Nessie.  Nessie is a Nespresso Citiz with Milk.  And she is FABULOUS!

Nessie is a capsule-based espresso machine.  Nespresso sells their capsules exclusively online.  That's the one drawback-- if you run out, it takes at least 1-2 working days to get more capsules.  We haven't run out yet! 

My daily espresso routine looks like this:

* 2 capsules "Roma" blend espresso
* 2 tablespoons sugar free Vanilla flavor from Starbucks
* 1/2 cup milk

Nessie's little milk canister sits to the side and whirrrrs happily in the background as it heats up my milk.

I love being able to quickly prepare my own Skinny Vanilla Lattes in minutes, from my own home.  So far, we've had her 2 1/2 years and she's still going strong!  Best espresso machine ever!



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Healthy Provolone Omelette with Tasty Bacon

Even though we're eating right and getting exercise, it's still important to have something that tastes decadently yummy from time to time.  We came up with this simple and delicious weekend breakfast treat:  Bacon and Provolone Omelette - Light and Yummy!  The whole plate is under 310 calories and so, so, so good.  Seriously, I think this is the best omelette I've ever had.  Ever.

This is what you'll need to make it:

* 4 Slices of Low Fat Turkey Bacon
* 3 Egg Whites
* 2 Slices of Reduced Fat Provolone Cheese
* A sprinkle of salt

Heat stove to medium.  Spray two small pans with Pam or other fat free cooking spray.

Add Turkey Bacon to first pan and cook until crispy.

Separate egg yolks from whites.  Discard yolks.  Whisk egg whites.  Then pour egg whites into second frying pan.  Cook on medium heat until eggs are solid.

Add two slices of provolone cheese.  Fold omelette in half (or thirds, depending on your preference).  Add a sprinkle of salt on top.

The heat of the egg will melt the provolone.  When you cut into the omelette, the cheese will ooze out all thick and gooey!  YUM!!



Friday, January 25, 2013

Resolution Numero Dos

I'm not one to just come out with all my New Year's Resolutions at one time.  (The first one was way back here.)  I feel like, if you put it all out there, you're just going to jinx yourself.  So I hold these things a little closer to the vest, until I can really get in there and get them done.

Since my 2nd Resolution is coming along, it's time to share!

2012 New Year's Resolution #2:  Start Exercising Again!!

We started this week.  Monday was Zumba.  Tuesday was an hour long, brisk walk (Erik came along).  Wednesday was Zumba again, and so was Thursday.

Seriously, y'all.  Zumba is kicking my butt.  But I'm not giving up!!  Exercise is a requirement!  At least five days a week for now.

Guess what they don't tell you about working out though?  You get to buy cute new clothes!!  This is my new "Hypotamoose"  (Hahaha, that still makes me laugh!) shirt.  Totally awesome, amiright?  Love it!



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Murder She Wrote: Nailed!

So, I'm a little bit of a Murder She Wrote freak.  Save the jokes.  I've already heard them all.  :P  Our friend Jason, who was also our roommate at the time, was the king of barbs.

Me:  (Minding my own business, watching a sweet J.B. Fletcher episode)
Jason:  Did you age 60 years while I was at work?

Har har har.  Yuk yuk yuk.  Funny guy.

I like a good mystery.  What can I say?  My two earliest mystery-loving memories involve my mom and my sister.  

I remember being sick, staying home from school.  I was too old for the kiddie shows, but too young for soaps.  My mom flicked on PBS and said, "You'll like this.  It's like Encyclopedia Brown."

It was Miss Marple and I was hooked!  I loved her accent and her Britishness.  She was great!

Then a year or two later, I was visiting my sister.  She had hired me to do some housekeeping work for her. I was supposed to be dusting, but I was overcome with allergies and lying on the couch.  She flicked on the tv.  "You'll like this.  It's like Nancy Drew."

It was Perry Mason, and I was hooked again!  I love crime shows and mysteries!  Over the years, I added Murder She Wrote, Columbo, Law & Order, and Criminal Minds to my list of favorites.

When DVD collections became available, Erik and Santa Claus filled our library with every episode of Murder She Wrote and Columbo (even the made for tv movies).

I like to watch them while I'm doing something else because they're so easy to follow, you don't really have to completely focus to understand what's happening in any given episode.

Last week, I had a Murder She Wrote DVD playing while I was sorting clothes to donate to Goodwill.  I happened to look up and saw this:

"Interesting," I thought, "who knew one 'different color' nail was popular in the 90s too!  Haha, I guess it really is true that there's nothing new under the sun.  Next thing you know, we'll be wearing Hammer pants again.  Hahaha..."

Yeah, well, turns out J.B. Fletcher is more "with it" than I am.  She took the one mis-matched nail and realized it was a clue to... the murderer!  (Not just a fashion statement, as I'd assumed.)

Yep, turns out "Crazy Nails" here was painting her claws in the dark while she waited for the victim to show up so she could kill him.  She didn't realize the bottle she was using to touch up her nails was actually Pink, instead of her usual Red.  Oh you silly, criminals!  You can't get anything past J.B.!

I think this might be my favorite episode, just because of the nail polish thing!  Hehe!



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yummy Green Smoothies

I was really, really into Green Smoothies a few years ago, but haven't had one in forever.  I thought it would be fun to start making them again.

Today, I'm making a Strawberry-Banana-Blueberry Green Smoothie.  This is what you will need:

1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Protein Powder (to make it more filling)
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 banana 
A handful of blueberries
A handful of strawberries

Slice the strawberries and banana.  Set them to the side.

Scoop the protein powder into your blender.  (I use a Magic Bullet).  Add the water and spinach.  Blend until combined.

Add the strawberries, bananas and blueberries to the blender.  Blend until smooth.

Pour into a glass, add a cute garnish, and enjoy!

Mix and match with all sorts of different flavors!  Almost everything tastes fantastic!  You can't taste the spinach at all -- only the fruit!  So good!



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Organize and Store It!

Last week was great, organizationally!  I had the week off from work and finally had a chance to sort and store all the Christmas clearance decorations.

Sheila was, clearly, unimpressed with my ribbon stash.  One of my favorite parts of organizing is that it seems to draw the dogs.  They love to stretch out across whatever you're trying to do on the living room floor.  Thanks, puppies!  So helpful!  ;)

On the couch, Rusty dreamt of one day becoming a professional figure skater.  (Or so we imagine.)

But meanwhile, I was sorting and shelving all these great finds for next year.  We have one closet in the house dedicated to Christmas stuff.  Basically, I just pack it from floor to ceiling from January to November.  When the Christmas season rolls around, I drag everything out and go through.  Finding a dedicated spot for Christmas stuff is a great way to keep it out of the way, but handy when you need it.