Lighthouses & Seals // Day 4

A few weeks ago, my Jawbone stopped working... but if it was still working, today would have been a very active day. I went for a super long walk ... followed by 4 hours of driving with some great views. I am very thankful that I saved an entire day for Point Reyes Park. I barely scratched the surface of it and it took me 3 hours or so.

I don't want to jinx it, but I feel like I've gotten pretty lucky this trip. The weather has been solid, the views have been great, and my last-minute decision making hasn't really bit me. Also, my electric rental car has been a huge savings in gas. By some rough calculations, I've driven 700 miles and gas has only cost be $80 which is amazing.

107 Curvy Miles // Day 3


There is nothing quite like 107 miles of twists and turns to really appreciate California's coastline.

I had decided the night before that I wasn't going to the Redwoods and stuck to that. I ended up spending the day cruising the coast and stopping at a few spots. I had planned to stop at a few others as well but used my better judgement. The roads were often quite desolate, besides cows and hawks, and it didn't seem quite the best idea to hike off to a beach by myself. (You're welcome Mom).

While it would have been nice to stretch my legs more than once - and stop the self-imposed motion sickness - the view was so impressive the entire time. The coastline is just like nothing you can imagine. Plus, there are seals!

Valley to the Ocean ... via the Redwoods // Day 2

I had some minor plans for the day that pretty much amounted to driving by the ocean and gawking at nature. Having lived by the ocean by entire life – and taken every opportunity possible to see the ocean … I was taken back by how amazing the view was everywhere. 

The ocean was just so big. I’m not quite sure why – but it just seemed never ending. The waves were always huge but not in a Nor ‘easter sort of way. We get big waves in New England but this was just completely different.

Wine & Raisins // Day 1


I'm currently sitting in a 4 poster bed, drinking a glass of wine courtesy of the B&B... and eating yogurt covered raisins. I'm not mad - but I am tired.

It wasn't exactly a short journey to get to this point. I drove for over 4 hours, visited 2 airports, flew for 8 hours, and ate 3 bags of mini Delta pretzels. I was on a pretty tight timeline today which resulted in me needing to meet a particular woman by 3:30 pm. The timeline did not allow for highway traffic, nevermind excessive flight delay. As a result, I sprinted through the Salt Lake City airport and politely pleaded to be let on an earlier delayed flight. It worked. For extra dramatic flair? The minute I sat in my new seat I got a text from Delta that my original flight had been delayed 3 hours. 

I'm in SF for a long weekend as part of a family activity that I accomplished today. I'll be leaving on Monday ... and until then I'm going to eat goldfish, listen to XM radio and cruise the coast.

carrot butternut squash soup


I've been slowly making more progress in my kitchen recently... and have stock piled a few recipes that I need to write up. This is one of them.... and it's an easy one.

There is something about butternut squash soup that just screams Fall. I fully intended on picking up the squash for bargain prices at Haymarket... but "splurged" and bought it in the burbs while visiting my parents. Even at normal prices, this soup is a steal. While I only topped it with chickpeas, I think it would be great with little bits of chicken sausage too if you wanted more bulk.

The soup is actually thicker than you think it will be - so I still have several leftovers which I've stashed in my freezer. I haven't been super great about eating anything from my freezer besides Reese Cups.... but I'm optimistic this will be different. I'm thinking maybe a very small bowl of it with some seared fish or scallops on top. Winning?

Either way, here's how the simple version goes.

chorizo and kale soup

 
One of my favorite things to do is Swiffer the floors ... and cook in my kitchen. Today was super productive...  and not all at once. 

I cleaned all my floors and bathrooms. I have 1.5. It's luxurious. I cleaned the tub and I hung up all the coats I've worn in the last two weeks. Things have been a bit busy and off, so while I made my bed every day... all of the clothes and coats ended up in small piles. After I finished all of those things, I watched several episodes of the Brady Bunch and then got suckered into The Love Boat. It didn't feel right to leave for a walk until I knew the old lady survived her onboard surgery for a fractured rib that might have punctured her spleen.

While I was out on my walk, I picked up a pile of chorizo for this soup. One of my favorite soups from last year was this chorizo and lentil soup - so perhaps this is the 2014 iteration of it. Bonus? I got to use two of the last red peppers from my dad's garden.

cauliflower "fried rice"

I've never been one to hide my love of snacks - especially ones that include fake cheese. For my birthday this year, my team gave me a giant box of Goldfish... so my love and dedication to snacking is clearly well documented. But recently I've been trying to eat my "pivot table" feelings less... and drink more water. I say "pivot table" because snacking always happens at my desk and then spirals into me eating multiple Reese Cups on my couch at night.

In the spirit of this, I've been trying to experiment more in the kitchen. On Saturday, I put blueberries on my english muffin and today I made cauliflower rice. Big wins. I'm not sure when I first saw this technique but I was intrigued. While I've previously stayed away from cauliflower, roasting it for soup changed my perspective. My sister has even turned it into a mock buffalo chicken situation.

Cauliflower rice could not be easier - provided you have a food processor. It also seems rather versatile. Good for "fried rice" but maybe also good for any other occasion you are trying to sneak vegetables onto the plate. If I had any children instead of a cat, I would be doing this immediately.
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