Saturday, August 13, 2011

Anniversary plans

We're coming up on one year of marriage - wow! A lot has happened and on one hand it flew by, but on the other hand 9/18/10 seems like so long ago. We've been planning a weekend back in Santa Cruz for a few months and we're so excited to go back and celebrate one year of wedded bliss ♥

Our weekend getaway plans include...

Staying at the Babbling Brook Inn, where we have a room with a fireplace, private deck and hot tub (We've never been to this inn before. It's pricey but this is the perfect excuse!)

A picnic at Lighthouse Point, the beautiful location where we said our vows last year.

Heading to Hoffman's Bakery - the bakery that provided our wedding cake - for our free anniversary cake. Oh heck yes we're cashing in on that!

A lunch or dinner at Kianti's, which catered our rehearsal dinner.

Sailing on the Chardonnay charter sailboat - we planned to do this on our honeymoon last year but they cancelled it last minute. I'm super excited to step foot on my namesake boat, haha.

Dinner at Michael's on Main, the restaurant that hosted our reception (Hopefully we can eat on the back deck where our party was held).

Hmmm most of these seem to revolve around eating :P Our vacations are often go-go-go, see everything and walk many miles. For this trip we're going to try and take it easy and relax! Can't wait!

P.S. If you want to see lots and lots of photos from our wedding weekend, check out the "Our Wedding" tab at the top of the page.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kitchen design inspiration

Our kitchen has a lot of changes coming to it!

Original kitchen before we moved in

Phase 1 has already begun - we added a fabulous island (this one if you're interested)!

Yep, we ordered it online, sight unseen. Nothing we could find in any store was the right size, colors or price. It came in boxes and we took an evening to assemble it. It's made our kitchen so much more functional!! Not to mention pretty.

Next we will be installing a new granite countertop (currently blue laminate - stylish, no?) and sink/faucet - we hate the current ones, especially the sink! It's so not functional because the side with the garbage disposal is teeny tiny. So inconvenient for rinsing dishes.

We've also replaced those blue blinds with bamboo roman shades (Purchased from Lowes, where they'll custom cut the width for you for free).

Once the counter is replaced, we'll be painting and getting new light fixtures as Phase 2.

And sometime after that, Phase 3 will entail a new tile floor (through to the dining room too, which currently has carpet) and a backsplash.

Here's a big picture look at the overall design of the room. It was really helpful to me in seeing how it will all come together and making sure that the materials complement each other! (Click the image to see it larger)

  1. Cabinet color (I can see someday painting the cabinets white, but that's not a priority any time soon)
  2. Faucet we're planning to order (Well actually we're not completely decided but we like this one and this one)
  3. Our range - all appliances are white
  4. The island we added
  5. The granite counter we've selected - "Persa Antique"
  6. The tile on the floor will be similar to this color and "hopscotch" pattern
  7. Paint color will be something like this green - the specific shade hasn't been narrowed down yet

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 8/1

August already?! Housewarming party planning time!

Monday: Out (Groupon that's about to expire!)

Tuesday: Thai style BBQ chicken (We just had this last night but I made a double batch) with summer squash bake

Wednesday: Turkey burgers

Thursday: Chicken salad (Been craving this...)

Friday: Chicken spaghetti (Apparently I'm all about chicken this week)

Saturday: Out (BBQ at our friends' house - I'm planning to bring broccoli salad)

Sunday: Sausage potato burritos OR spicy garlic lime chicken with spicy green beans... it's a lot of chicken but it sounds good and I'm loving those green beans! I think when you crave veggies you have to take advantage.

Spicy green beans

Our Farm Fresh To You delivery included a pound of green beans last Friday. I've never liked fresh green beans. I love the canned ones and their soft texture, but fresh ones are always too crunchy!

But I had to use them (see the trying new things benefit going on here?). And thankfully, the box even came with a few recipe recommendations for the produce we got that week.

One of them was this recipe for spicy green beans, and we loved it! I decided to way over-cook them to attempt to get that soft mushy goodness you get out of the can. It worked, and now I love fresh green beans :)

  • 1 lb. green beans
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. rice vinegar
  • 2 t. sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 t. hot pepper flakes (I put almost 1/2 t. and they were pretty much perfect. I like spicy)
  • 1/4 t. white pepper (I have never used or seen white pepper... I used black pepper)
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 T. minced garlic
  • 2 T. freshly minced ginger (I skipped this)
  • I also added a dash of sesame oil and a bit of salt for more flavor
  1. Rinse and drain green beans, and cut off the ends. Cut the beans into 2-3 inch, bite-sized segments.
  2. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, hot pepper flakes and white pepper.
  3. Set a large frying pan over high heat. Add beans and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook, stirring once, until beans are as cooked as you want them (I added 1/2 cup water or more. The original directions recommended 3-4 minutes, but I probably did 6-7. For me, this is the key to liking fresh green beans).
  4. Uncover and cook until most of the water has evaporated.
  5. Add vegetable oil, garlic and ginger to the pan. Stir until green beans and garlic are lightly browned - 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Stir soy mixture and add to pan. Bring to a boil and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce thickens and coats the beans - 2 to 3 minutes.
Can be served hot or cool. I kept them covered and warm until the rest of our dinner was ready. Served 2 generous portions.

We had this with Thai style BBQ chicken and it was delish and pretty darn healthy too!