San Diego Part Two- More Food and a Bit of Adventure

It’s really not a vacation if we don’t center then entire thing around food and drink. Ross is a well-documented beer nerd (and the Homebrewer’s Conference is what took us out there in the first place) and we had a LOOOONNNNNNNG list of breweries to hit. Before we crammed in as many as humanly possible, we made time for a belated birthday wish…


Yep. That’s right. Ross wanted to skydive. Good for him, really. I had no interest. I like my feet firmly on the ground, and those of you who know me know what a challenge that can be, even on the best of days. His appointment was at 3pm, so we had the morning free to do as we pleased, so we did what we do best- eat.

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San Diego Part One- SO MUCH FOOD

Prepare yourselves for all the photos. And all the food. And all the photos. You’ve been warned. We ate so much and did so many things, that I’m breaking it up into two posts. If I’m boring myself with the length of this post, I’m sure you’re feeling the same way. Part two will contain more food, and a big bucket list item for Ross… stay tuned.

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Guest Face- Playing Makeup with My Sister

There are so many advantages to being the older sister. One of my faves is being able to demand my sister Maggie let me do her makeup and write about her on my blog. Actually, she was really cool about it, and we had a lot of fun making a hair-makeup-photo shoot happen with lots of helpers (both baby and furry baby). She needs no help from me on makeup tips or anything like that- this was purely a chance for me to have complete control over her look, and document it for the interwebs. My motive, if I’m being honest, was to force her to wear lipstick. She’s a no muss, no fuss lip product person, and since my love of lipsticks is well documented, it was time for the two worlds to collide.

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Weekend Food Project- Belgian Beef Stew

We’re THISCLOSE to being over all the comfort food of winter. (Noticed I said almost!) We had another late season snow this past weekend, and something comforting was calling our name. This time we pulled one of our favorite beef stew recipes from one of my go-to cookbooks by Ted Allen. Usually, if I make beef stew, the recipe uses red wine, tomato paste and lots of other aromatics, but this recipe is a unique variation because it calls for Belgian beer instead of wine, and bread is used as the thickening agent instead of flour. It’s easy to assemble, and it is DIVINE.

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Weekend Food Project- Brisket Roast Dinner

I’m married to an Englishman. (Never a better way to start a blog post than by laying down a dry fact.) This is relevant because he has memories and cultural food favorites that are not readily available here, or are not a part of our cultural collective. I’ve always tried to incorporate his favorites into my repertoire (with the exception of Supernoodles mixed with baked beans and tuna), but I spent many years afraid to tackle the full roast dinner because the bar is set quite high. I’m not entirely sure it’s possible to compete with years of skill and nostalgia, but every once and a while, I’ll be brave and give it a go.

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Weekly Food Shopping- How We Save Money and Time

I remember our food wake-up call very clearly. It was 2008 and Ross and I were living with my parents- we hadn’t been back from England very long. I was working full-time and Ross wasn’t as his visa hadn’t been approved yet. We had very few expenses. No rent, utilities, or anything much more than some food costs and gas. I thought we’d be raking in the money. I thought we’d be saving lots, quickly saving money so we could move out as soon as Ross had his visa and a job. But that’s not what was happening. We were saving some, but not enough in comparison to what I was making (which at that time wasn’t much). We sat down one night and started to add up our expenses from our bank account, and I was gobsmacked to see we were spending $600+ on groceries a month. I believe I cried. Mainly because we were living at my parents house and we’d been spending this much for about 6 months. When I added it up, I was overwhelmed at how much we could have saved or spent in other areas. We were only cooking for ourselves a night or two a week. My parents were so generous and they’d been feeding us since we moved in, trying to help us get on our feet. We were leaking money at the grocery store, and we needed it to stop.

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Birthday Dinner- Cooking for my family

Is it odd that for my birthday, I asked if I could cook for my family? Maybe a bit, but it didn’t stop me. I love to cook, and I don’t have an excuse to do it for my parents and sister and brother-in-law often enough. I wanted everyone gathered around my table, eating good food, and spending quality time. The cooking happened to be a bonus.

For the menu, I needed it to be manageable, and easily stretched to feed 7 people (mom, dad, me, Ross, Mags, Zack, and my Grandma). In the end, I decided to make fresh pasta and bolognese, knowing I could do the bolognese ahead of time, and fresh pasta is always delicious and a special treat. For dessert, I made a cake from chocolate chip cookies (and vanilla ice cream too.) Disclaimer- there are a TON of photos to follow- sorry not sorry)

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Weekly Obsessions #4

My birthday is this weekend, and as such I use it as an occasion to abuse my husband’s goodwill by indulging in all the things I love the most this week. People in my life know that I don’t just celebrate a birthday. It’s a birth event. A week-long excuse for me to do as I please. Re-reading this, I know it sounds a little bit diva, but all it really means is that I get to watch a few extra episodes of TV I love, or get to pick our weekend movie without hearing sighs or complaints about the fact it probably stars Katherine Heigl.

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My Anniversary- Marriage and a Bit of Food

Nine years. I can’t believe it. It feels like just yesterday we were saying ‘I do’. It also feels like a lifetime ago. We were two babies about to embark on a pretty intense journey. Everyone said we were crazy for getting married so young. We thought so too. We knew we were taking a risk. We also couldn’t continue down the path we were on: living in separate countries, flying back and forth 3 or 4 times a year. Calling once a week, emailing every day. We were friends first. The rest came later. Too late to still be living in the same town, so we “dated” from a distance. It was hard. Very hard. And we knew we were at a crossroads. Break up? Stay in purgatory? Get married? We chose to try.

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