Friday, November 30, 2012

Eats from the 831...

I had this same exact meal three times while visiting my family at home. The shredded beef enchilada with rice and beans from Dona Ester's Restaurant in San Juan Bautista is what I crave most from home. I have been eating it for 30 years and I hope it stays around for another 30!   

I also had an outstanding plate of Crab Enchiladas in cream sauce from The Whole Enchilada. They are almost crispy so they are more like taquitos but the cream sauce is what is absolute heaven. 

I have had a craving for Seaweed Salad lately. It is actually good for you so I am proud of myself for having one healthy habit! My mom and I went to Pearl Sushi in Gilroy for a farewell meal to her favorite sushi chef, Teddy. He is moving to Samuri in Oakland. 

A shared Sugar Mama roll for us and we were totally content. One roll yields a lot of food!

My sister, bro-in-law and I enjoyed a brewskie at the new brewery in Hollister - Hollister Hills Brewery. I had the house blonde and it was very good.

And when I saw they had stadium nachos on the menu I just had to have them. They are the best!

Eats from home are the best, somehow the food always tastes better when you only get to enjoy them a couple times a year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Food & More Parties!

The day after Thanksgiving my sister and Mom hosted a baby shower for my cousin so we were up bright and early getting things together for the day. Just after we cleaned the kitchen after our Thanksgiving meal we were messing one up all over again!  

The night before my sister made ice cubes with lemon slices. Such a pretty idea! 

They went directly into the punch. It was gorgeous! 

She also frozen little plastic babies into ice cubes. The first person with the baby melted from the cube won a prize. it was my Aunt Carolyn, she said she named the baby"Wilbur". 

I made these Egg Salad Sandwiches. I thought they were delicious! Extra pickle juice is the secret to a good egg salad mixture. 

I also made these Cucumber Sandwiches. I know they are a different variety as the original version but we were making things up as we went along. We lightly toasted the bread, smeared mayonnaise on the bread, and served the marinated cucumbers open faced. They turned out quite tasty.

My mom worked on the Turkey Cranberry Sandwiches and they were the best. Who doesn't love a good leftover turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving!

Melissa Good Taste enjoying the party punch! It was very good. Just mix in three different types of frozen juice concentrates, club soda and champagne.

After the party we were tired. No more grocery shopping, party set-up, clean up or hosting for awhile. It is amazing how much it takes out of you. In the meantime we continued to eat while I was in the 831... Stay posted for my central coast eats! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Real Thanksgiving 2012

I went up north to visit my family on Thanksgiving Day and a few days after that. Our holiday was a little different this year as we had our meal at my brother's house because my parent's house is under going a huge remodel. My brother has a little ranch house so seating for twelve was quite tricky. We made it work though and just squeezed in a little tighter than normal at dinner. 

After we put the turkey in we had some time to nibble on cheese and crackers and visit. We didn't do much in way of appetizers this year, we wanted everyone to have an appetite for dinner.

In between bites of cheese I couldn't help but document just how col my boots were. 

The Thanksgiving Day Parade is always a must in our family. We have it on while we cook and socialize but mostly because it is just tradition.

 I was put in charge of the gravy and let me just express on how important this job is. I love gravy and a lot of it so if I didn't pull it off it may have ruined the day. It turned out fine despite that the turkey did not give out as much pan juices as we would have liked. my mom cooked in my brother's new ovens and probably didn't have them figured out as well as she had hoped.

I will label this photo the "Three Amigos". Frank is a family friend and has been enjoying holidays with my family as long as I can remember. 

My plate of gravy with some food on the side! The turkey was moist and delicious! The mashed potatoes were packed with rutabagas and parsnips for an extra amount of nutrition for our healthy bodies! The stuffing and cranberry sauce were solid. And my sister really came through with excellent sides of caramelized brussel sprouts and a sweet potato cassarolle.

My cousin's daughter turned two so we celebrated a birthday n the house too! 

Berry tart was the ending to this meal for me.

I was so proud of my Mom for pulling off another holiday. She has hosted a wonderful holiday for my whole family to enjoy year after year without complaint. I think it is a tradition that has been passed on to me because I have a craving to host it next year. Stay tuned for that extravaganza!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Eating & Treating!

I am blogging via my parent's computer while in my hometown of San Juan Bautista. I have spent a few extra days visiting my family and friends after Thanksgiving. Every little do gooder needs breakfast so I met my brother, his girlfriend Kate and parent at The Happy Rooster. We enjoyed a lengthy meal over coffee and plenty of pancakes.
Then I met my sister and brother-in-law to decorate a Christams Tree for a needy family in Hollister. It was just a little something but I am sure it will make one family have a very special holiday season. So just remember the reason for the season during all the crazy shopping sessions and especially Cyber Monday tomorrow!

I will head back to my home in Southern California soon so my regular blogging will continue soon. Until squeeze your family tight and enjoy all the time you get to spend with them!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving For Two - Ojai, CA

Scott and I are not going to be together on Thanksgiving this year so I decided to do a pre-Thanksgiving last night so we could enjoy a meal of turkey together. He looked very suprised when I told him as I was cooking in the kitchen last night that we were having Thanksgiving dinner. When I asked him what he was thankful for he said for me (of course, duh), his health, for our ranch and our two little dogs. I couldn't have agreed more.

I have never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before and I only made the things I enjoy on the big day. White meat turkey, lots of gravy (over everything), mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry out of a can. I didn't cook a whole bird just roasted a turkey breast, it yielded plenty of leftovers too. Scott is going to be home alone for a couple days so he will have lots of food to eat now while i am gone. I was most impressed with my gravy, it was delicious!

I cheated and bought the pecan pie. I decided last minute to do this Thanksgiving dinner so I really was running out of time. A local bakery made it though and once heated up and topped with soft gelato it was just fine.

We had an after dinner cocktail and it was the perfect ending to a lovely meal. I made a Nutty Russian, a play on a White Russian - Vodka, Frangelico and cream served over ice. Almost like a second dessert!

I have to admit I was quite proud of myself for pulling off a Thanksgiving meal in two hours and having no real experience ever doing so. I have to keep in mind cooking for two is much easier than cooking for 25 like my mom does but still I guess you have to start somewhere. I am very excited to head home and visit my parents, brother and sister today. Happy Thanksgiving to you all and safe travels!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jimmy's Pub - Ojai, CA

We have been wanting to try Jimmy's Pub inside the Ojai Valley Inn for quite some time now. We heard it was a great place to watch a sporting event and enjoy the beauty the Inn has to offer. The 49ers were playing Monday Night Football last night so we decided it was the perfect time to try it out. Upon our walk to the pub we came across this fantastically lit up oak tree. The photo does not do it justice as to how stunning it actually was!
We got to the pub after the first quarter to see the 49ers spanking the Bears. The game continued on with that theme throughout dinner. Go 49ers!

They brought out home made chips. I wolfed down the first serving almost solo and when the waitress brought over a second helping Scott shoo'ed her away. He knows I am completely defenseless against stuff fried in oil. 

The most original thing on the menu that inspired me to order it was the Crab Roll. Served with copuous amounts of dungeness crab, avocado, rueben dressing, diced red onions, lettuce served on a pretzel roll. It was good, not great. it lacked that special something to make it out of this world. It came with too much lettuce on the sandwich making it hard to eat with your hands, I gave up and just used my fork to pick out the delicious crab. The onion rings too were not crunchy and crisp how I desire but merely soft and chewy.

Scott ordered a cheeseburger and unfortunately he too was a bit underwhelmed. In his words, "It was just a burger." We both came to the conclusion nothing was bad but more like the food you would get from room service. We were at a hotel after all...

Scott ordered a couple Honey Blonde Ales through dinner and I forwent one so I could have a Pumpkin Pie Martini for dessert. it was outstanding. Worth $14? Probably not. But still, it was like Thanksgiving in a glass. Scott didn't want to feel left out so his scoop of ice scream and chocolate sauce made its way to our table.

It was an expensive meal for pub fare but you are paying for atmosphere. The country club is beautiful and the staff very accomidating. I would return with hopes of ordering off the upstairs menu. I have heard it is possible to do so and would prefer to order off The Oaks menu. It has more entrees suited to my tastes so I am sure next time it will be a much better culinary experience.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mother to my children...

A good mother is not supposed to have favorites but these two are my little buddies...

Winnie Weis has won more than her fair share for me these past two years. She is beautiful, a complete diva and likes her food. I would say she takes right after me but then that would just be me feeling overly confident! She has won over $50,000 and I couldn't feel more proud in being her owner.

And this little mongrel is Willy "The Weiner" Weis. he came to use on a jet plane from the great state of Texas. He is all Californian now enjoying the lazy days on our porch enjoying Taste of the Wild dog food, chasing black cats and sleeping until noon everyday. He came into this family with much hesitation from Scott but I know now he couldn't live without him.

Scott's kid's are Buster and Flaco right now. They do manly things outside in the dirt. They work cows, sling dirt and get sweaty. As for Winnie, Willy and I? We enjoy being prissy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

So, I am a little early...

I know, I know. You are probably thinking, "We haven't even had Thanksgiving yet..." I just couldn't help it. The weather has been rainy and that means no riding so I used my idle time wisely. I love the way the tree glows when we watch television at night, how it balances the room as the fireplace flickers and just everything about the celebrating Christmas. 

If it is July and I still have it up I give you full permission to make fun of me. Until, then carry on...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spaghetti, Wine and .... another Movie!

Another movie?! I know it is so unlike me to sit through these things but with the rainy day schedule being around we just decided to continue our date night theme. This time it was at Casa de Weis and I was up to bat being the hostess.

I found this bottle of Kendall Jackson Zinfandel at Von's for $9. For the price, the wine really could not be beat. Economical and tasty - I like that!

The spaghetti was nothing fancy just sauteed zucchini before adding browned ground beef to the marinara. Simple and delicious served over angel hair pasta and a sprinkle of parmesan. 

The movie started and it was suited to an audience who can handle more gore and violence than I can handle. So when the scenes got too ugly I just got up and went to the kitchen and made...

Bread Pudding! 

I used the left over bread from the french loaf from dinner. That was my way to avoid the scary parts from the movie and provide a sweet ending to our night. I hope everyone is bundled up tight. it is going to a wet one today!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Date Night x2 - Ojai & Ventura, CA

Scott and I do everything together. We work all day side by side at our cutting horse training facility. Whether it be me prepping horses he is about to tune on, us in the office invoicing and paying bills, or me attempting to drive a stick so he can feed cows in the pasture. In the evenings we usually come in and I serve up something that has been slow cooking all day so it is easier on me at the end of the day. We unwind by watching our favorite television shows and head to bed pretty early. That is our life. But for two days in a row now we have gone on date night! TWO in a row - wow. Wearing my snappy pancho, that Scott purchased for me let we walk you through our evenings...

The first night was sushi and a movie and I was totally content with that because I am always in the mood for sushi. This time we went to Sakura Sushi, on the opposite side of town, we have two sushi restaurant selections in Ojai. I started with a seaweed salad because I really love the stuff. I have heard that it is very good for your skin so it is the least I can do in consideration for all the abuse I do by being outside so much!

 When we go to sushi I do the ordering, Scott never knows what to get. I ordered a Cajun Tuna Roll and it was not very good. I put that in my memory of what not to order for next time. Then we shared a Baked Salmon Roll - Just a basic California Roll with baked salmon on top. Nothing fancy but there was a creamy sauce that really just made it luxuriously wonderful.
Next up, our movie for the evening. We went to Ojai's one screen playhouse to watch the new James Bond movie. It really wasn't that good. I sat entertained but I felt like Pierce Brosnan was a much  better Bond. At least more handsome anyway...


 Date Night #2 followed the very next night in hopes we would have better food and movie. So off to Ventura we go...

I like sweet and salty so we ordered a bag of buttered popcorn, dumped in some Peanut M&M's and I went to town. We got to the movie a little early so I finished the bag before the previews started, don't you hate that?!

Judging from the movie selection being about surfing you can see Scott picked the movie. I didn't mind because the movie was shot in my old stomping grounds of Santa Cruz so a lot of the scenes were familiar to me. Who doesn't remember Pleasure Pizza if you are from the 831... Anyhow, it was about surfer Jay Moriarity and rise to surfer stardom. Very inspirational story, date night redeemed!

We then walked a few blocks to Cafe Fiore and each ordered a salad. I went for Arugula and Beet because it has always been amazing there. No disappointments from me. A light dinner was what I was craving after stuffing myself with all that popcorn!

We made the 30 minute drive back home from Ventura just in time to watch the Bobby Flay Thanksgiving Throw Down against Ree Drummond - Pioneer Woman. Also on the show was Missy, Ree's sister in law, which I thought was really cool. She shows cutting horses just like we do! Well, the cowgirls ended beating Mr. Flay - Yee haw! 

Our two date nights in a row kind of exhausted me. Good thing I am an old married lady now! What are you guys making for dinner tonight? I need some ideas to get inspired for my next creation!