Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 5, 2008

Wednesday recap

Wow. I would like to thank the awesome bloggers Veggie Girl, Coco, and Hangry Pants for reading even when I had nothing to say! You ladies rock! Oh, and head on over to Hangry Pants and leave a comment, because they are being the amazing lovely selves that they are, and they are doing a food drive for the holiday season, donating 5 cents for every comment. I find this to be so respectable and admirable! Way to go!

Wednesday Workout
I did:

I was kinda tired and didn’t really feel like working out, but I knew that it would make me feel refreshed and happy if I did, so I did. And guess what, it worked! I felt a ton better after my workout ๐Ÿ™‚ And I also made sure to NOT do exercises that will hurt my wrist and shoulder. Such a good girl I am. Haha!

Wednesday Pleasures

UM….. How frickin amazing was the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show!!!! I look forward to this night every single year! I have a major girl crush on Adrianna Lima. She is so unbelievably beautiful. OMG.

And to go along with the show James and I had some wine

two for one

two for one

Now, at first glance, this may seem like your average bottle of wine. But no….! One of the bottles was only 10 cents! That’s right, just ten cents. Von’s was having a deal last night where if you bought one bottle for $8.99, the second bottle is only $0.10. Now that’s a bargain if there ever was one! ๐Ÿ™‚ (and no, we only made it through half of one bottle – such light weights, haha)

Back to the show…. I really loved how glamorous all the costumes were. I liked how the girls were more “covered up” this year, instead of waltzing around in teeny weeny thongs. I think there is something so sexy about a one-piece, or a pair of booty shorts! I mean, yeah, skin is sexy, but I think sometimes it is sexier to leave a little to the imagination ๐Ÿ˜‰ And the models! They are sooooo amazingly beautiful! Sigh……. They are so far removed from the “normal” realm of beauty that I don”t even feel jealous, or envy, or anything. I just like to admire them. Am I being totally creep balls here?

Boys Eats

As we were watching the show, James made himself a snack. One reason why I am jealous of boys (other than the fact that they can pee while standing…. – hey! This can come in super handy sometimes….) is the fact they can eat like beasts and not gain weight. Tina, from Carrots ‘n’ Cake talked about how differently her husband prepares his oatmeal from her. Have you ever noticed the huge differences in eating habits between the two sexes? For example, take a look at James’ snack… more like a meal!

A snack...?

A snack...?

will you please just look at how thick the ham is?

will you please just look at how thick the ham is?

And the crazy thing is, these are slices #5-7. I think the total at the end may have even been 8 slices. And a whole pack of ham. Way to put ’em down, James!
I’ve seen guys chow down on whole pints of ice cream, half a dozen donuts, an entire loaf of bread, and pounds of steak. Not that I want to eat a 3lb burger, mind you, but being able to eat half a dozen donuts, heck, even 2 donuts, without worrying about it will be super refreshing.

Do you have any characteristics of guys you’ve ever been jealous of?

Good night, fellow bloggers. Tomorrow is Friday. One more day till the weekend. Hip hip hooray!

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 4, 2008

Will post soon~

Hey lovelies!

I hope thursday is gonig well for all the great bloggers out there!
I was planning on posting earlier today, but work was busy, and when I finally had time, the internet died, and now that it’s back up, I have more work to do! So hopefully I will have a post later on today, but I just wanted to say hi and that I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a good one!

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 3, 2008

Mr Chiropractor! Thank youuuuuu!

As promised, I’m back, and I do have a bunch of exciting news! My day yesterday was quite unexpectedly fantastic. Actually, to be more precise, my evening was fantastic! My day was spent filing, filing, and filing papers in the office. So that wasn’t all that great. BUT, right at 4:30, things started looking up!

I was extremely excited to go to my fist visit with a chiropractor. As I’ve said before, my wrist and shoulder have been in a lot of discomfort and pain. It’s been bothering me for several months, so my boss Doug arranged a chiropractic visit for me. (Thank you thank you!) But not to get ahead of myself. On my walk to the chiropractor, I stopped by a little market called Cantwells right by my office for some peanuts or something to much on. But guess what!

I found the Coconut Cream Pie and Hazelnut Jocalat Larabars!!! I have been looking ALL OVER Santa Barbara for these two flavors! I probably have been to every single grocery mart in town, only to discover that they were just TWO BLOCKS away from my office! Hooray! And I know, I know, I’ve challenged myself to NOT spend money on junk food, but Larabars are a different story! And let me tell you, the Coconut Cream Pie flavor ROCKED my socks off! Ohhh boy ๐Ÿ˜‰

I look..... scary.

I look..... scary.

Ok I think this photo is not particularly flattering, but eh whatever. Yes I know I have a pimple (two to be exact), but what can you do. haha

So onto the real exciting part. After months of living in discomfort and pain, I finally know what’s wrong with me!! Let me tell you, it is SUCH a relief to know my pain has a real cause. I have been referring to the pain as a “mystery,” so it’s nice to know what’s up.

My chiropractor, Dr. Neal, from Barry Family Chiropractic, explained to me that I have a couple misalignments in my spine and wrist. Apparently, the carpals of my wrist have flattened out, causing my nerves to be pinched when I flex it. Also, my shoulder is attached anteriorly in my joint, causing it to shift and pop when I raise my arms. And the whole process the chiropractor went through was pretty neat, too.

We started off by measuring the electrical impulses my muscles were sending out. How high tech! And then he pushed and pulled my arms and wrists in all sorts of directions to see where I had imbalances. Then, after noting the locations of these imbalances, he twisted me so that my joints could “pop”/”crack”. Yes, it was slightly painful, but after he was done, OMG! did I feel like new! My shoulders all of a sudden felt so light! Unbelievable!

Though my problem is no where near cured, it’s a start! It was one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve had in a while. Thank you thank you thank you Dr. Neal!

And I also get to wear one of these cool thingies;

It’s called Kinesio tape, just like what Kerri Walsh, the Olympic Beach Volleball player was wearing. (Read this article)This is to help stabilize my wrist. I feel so special ๐Ÿ™‚

Sorry if my post has too many “!”s. But seriously, hear my out. I have been struggling with this “mystery” pain since June, and it has stopped me completely, from working out my upper body, becasue it would hurt too much. My arm muscles have slowly whithered away from a lack of use. It really has been a daily concern of mine. So I was just so RELIEVED and ELATED to finally know what’s wrong, and find out how to take care of it!ย  It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders (literally!) ๐Ÿ™‚

So yeah, maybe I am easily impressed. Becasue when I got home, my housemate who had cooked us an amazing Thanksgiving dinner had made soup using homemade turkey stock! I was quite impressed by his culinary skills. Making broth and stock have been one of those things I have been too intimidated to try. Have YOU ever made any sort of stock?

Yuuuummy soup

Yuuuummy soup

It was hearty and delicious. It made for a perfect din din. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had also planned on working out, but decided against it becasue I didn’t want to “undo” the corrections Dr. Neal had made. I have no idea if it’s even possible to “udo” the pops and cracks, but better safe than sorry right?

And the night got even better casue I went over to James’ to hang out.

A great day indeed.

And tonight isn’t gonna be half bad either. Becasue it’s my favorite night of the year:

THE VICTORIA’S SECRET FASHION SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ummmm… girl crush on Adrianna Lima! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Who else is excited to see the glamorous stage, the sexy outfits and the awesome music, and all my girl crushes????!!!! haha

I wish all the bloggies a great Wednesday!

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 2, 2008

It’s Toooosday!

Good morning lovelies!

So I was a bad little girl yesterday and did not post. But to my defense, the first Monday of the month, and especially the Monday after a long weeked is always quite hectic. But the biggest reason I couldn’t blog was becasue JAMES CAME BACK!!!! Yay! I usually blog in the evenings, but I spent all of yesterday evening catching up with him, and going to an office meeting. So I apologize if you missed me ( ๐Ÿ˜‰ ),ย  but it was very nice to just hang out with James. In fact, I was SO excited to see him, I actually ran home after work. I had my purse tucked under my arm, and just booked it home. haha. I’m sure I looked pretty darned silly. It was worth it though, obviously.

Another reason I was a bad blogger is becasue I didn’t take photos. And my eats were very yummy yesterday! I’m on a challenge to eat less sugar and junk this month. (ie- eat an entire jar of PB in three days, eat an entire box of Famos Amos cookies, eat 3 candy bars per day) Not only is this not great for my health, it’s not good for my wallet. I spend so much $$ on crappy (but oh-so-delicious) food, so more for budgetary reasons, I am cutting them out this month. BUTTTTT, I am allowed to eat junk if some one else gets them for me! haha. James had brought me a souvenier of Hawaiian chocolate covered Macadamia nuts, and I had two of those. Heaven.

I know that many people in the blog world were successful in eating healthy and yet cutting down on thier food budget last month. I have a very strictly limited food budget, and there’s not that much else I can cut back on. But since I really want to make a concentrated effort this month, I am aksing you all for some money-saving tricks! What did you find that saved you the most $$?

since I don’t have photos from yesterday, here is a blast from the past; a trip to Hawaii from last summer;

thats me jumping off a rock into the water. If you look closely, youll see me! haha

that's me jumping off a rock into the water. If you look closely, you'll see me! haha

Sorry I feel like I am skipping around topics today, but I guess I am a bit scatter brained right now, oops. Bear with me.

Last night I also indulged in a little bit of ice cream as well. Or to be more precise, some SOY ICE CREAM. As I’ve said before, I useually don’t like soy products that pretend to be something else, like soy ice cream, tofurkey, etc. But this brand, “It’s SOY DELICIOUS” from Turtle Mountain, is really tasty!

But here’s a semi-funny, semi-sad story about it. Last Wednesday, I drove in bumper to bumper traffic to go to this one store to buy the Pomegranate Chip flavor by the same brand. However, the ones in the freezer were kinda mushy, like they weren’t frozen enough or something. So I reached to the back of the freezer, and found one that was very frozen. Satisfied with the rest of my purchases, I drove home and unpacked my goodies, only to discover that I had gotten the Chocolate Peanut Butter Flavor!!! Gahhhhhhhh. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ You can just imagine the frustration I felt; I had just driven in traffic, spent 5 bucks on an ice cream flavor I had my heart set on, but got the wrong flavor, and I don’t even like soy ice cream! I decided to give it a try, and I hated it. But I hated the idea of wasting ice cream, of all things, so I decided to give it another try. And guess what? I liked it!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

My theory is that all foods, no matter what, derserves a second chance to redeem themselves. Iย  have even given Pig Hooves a second chance. (no, they are awful no matter how many times you try ’em). I mean, you never know if for some freak reason, you just got a bad one or not. So I never make up my mind until I try it twice. I was reminded of this fact by the lovely Miss Maggie from Say Yes to Salad, who gave her kelp noodles a second chance. So I leave with you with this question;ย  Have you ever given a food a chance to redeem itself, and actually quite enjoyed it?

and I promise that there will be lots of exciting new content and photos tomorrow! Please don’t give up on me just yet! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy Tuesday, all!

oohh and PS- The kind Miss Kelly from Grounded Fitness is giving away a killer Danskin Vest on her blog; please go check it out!

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 1, 2008

Bye Bye Weekend

Bummer. It really is a bummer. I can’t believe that tomorrow is Monday again. Not to be a downer, but I am quite sad about facing another busy work week ahead. I know I shouldn’t complain too much, but I just feel this big deep cloud over my heart knowing that I need to hustle and bustle again for a week. Big sigh.ย 

Ok I’m done with my sob story. I just had to get it off my chest.ย 

Because you know what? I had a magnificent weekend. I missed James a lot, but I got to hang out with Rachel a bunch, and I managed to stay active and productive.ย 

Today, I woke up and did an hour of morning yoga. Nothing like yoga to start your day off right! I really want to do more morning yoga sessions, but to be honest with you, I don’t think I can wake up any earlier than I already do. I don’t wake up particularly early, but I have NEVER EVER in my life been good at waking up. I just can’t do it!! Maybe I can train my body to wake up early, but I just can’t bear the thought. Too painful. I love snuggling in my comforters a tad bit too much. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh FYI, I did the 60 min core power yoga class with instructor Dawnelle from yogadownload.com. Great class for my gut.

After yoga, I went to La Cumbre Mall and checked out Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma. There was nothing all that great at PB, but at W-S, they were giving out samples of their Peppermint Bark, which was so Christmasy and delicious. I wanted so many things, but I held back. (Still broke)

I then did some grocery shopping and found this new flavor of Pure Protein I’ve never had before.ย 

ย 

Pure Protein Peanut Marshmallow Eclipse

Pure Protein Peanut Marshmallow Eclipse

It was yummy! 180 cal, and 19g of protein! It had this marshmallow component that kind of melts away in your mouth, and a peanut butter type component that you chew. It has a very nice, candy-like texture. It’s very sweet, and I feel like it’s more like a candy bar and a protein bar! I enjoyed eating this very much.ย 

I also bought some more ground turkey to make a week’s worth ofย Caribbeanย Turkey Burgers, (Click here for recipe) some more sweet potatoes, apples, yogurt, bread, and this and that for the week. I am really going to make an effort this month to cut back on buying candy bars and my beloved protein bars. I feel like those items add generally very little nutritious value to my diet besides calories, and they cost a lot of money! So for those reasons, I am going to cut back. I will miss them dearly, but my wallet won’t.ย 

When I got home, I made a whole bunch of the turkey burgers. I also found a way to use up my eggs, leftover from Thanksgiving baking. I usually have trouble using 12 eggs by myself before they go bad, but I think these will help me use it up! I searched allrecipes.com for easy egg recipes, and decided to make mini “quiches” with the ingredients I already had.ย 

Julia’s mini quiches
Ingredients (I’m like Racheal Ray. I don’t measure food, just eyeball it)
4 eggs
big handful baby spinach, chopped
4 mushrooms, minced
1 strip bacon, diced
big handfulย mozzarellaย ย cheese
Sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Spoon into small-sized baking muffin tins. Sprinkle with more Parmesan. Bake for about 15 min. Done!

ย 

I baked them in silicone star and triangle shaped cups. I love the idea of star shaped quiches!

I baked them in silicone star and triangle shaped cups. I love the idea of star shaped quiches!

ย Since there is no crust, I suppose they aren’t technically “quiches”, but they were delicious nonetheless! Super easy too, and a great way to use up odd bits of leftovers in the fridge!

ย 

my quiche is a star!

my quiche is a star!

After all the cooking, I set out on an hour long walk up to the Santa Barbara Mission. I walked through the stunning rose garden, and even found a new park! I was quite excited by this find – I think it would be a lovely date spot! (….hint, hint, James!) Unfortunately, I don’t have photos, because I don’t like to have to carry my camera when I’m out walking. BUT, it was so pretty I am sure I will be back very soon to snap some photos to share with you all!

It was a lovely walk, and a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. As much as I have enjoyed writing this post, recalling my weekend is yet again making me sad that my break is about to come to an end. How do you all deal with this sadness? Or do you not even feel sad at all? I AM very stoked that James is coming back tomorrow. However, I still can’t shake off this feeling. ehhhhh. Think positive Julia! Think POSITIVE! ๐Ÿ™‚ I will deal. We all will ๐Ÿ˜‰ We can do it!

Oh, and thank you all for your advice about whether or not I should go splurge on Lululemon pants. Right now, I’m leaning towards buying a pair of Lulus, but I haven’t made up my mind 100%. I think I am going to think about it for a couple more days. It’s such a big purchase for me, I must take time to make sure I make the right decision! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | November 30, 2008

Wow, and I still have another day off!

4 day weekends. I could get used to this…..! It’s so nice having the time to fit in so many activities I normally have to rush. I love being able to sleep till 8, being able to fit in long workouts, being able to putts around, and being able to have time to blog! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think 4 day weekends should be mandatory at least once a month. Wouldn’t you agree? I think it will be so great for all our sanity. The world will be a much merrier place ๐Ÿ˜‰ (maybe)

I woke up today, and drove over to Rachel’s to work out with her. I love her gym, and had another fantastic workout.

Saturday Workout:

  • 15 min run (speeds ranging from 6 to 7)
  • Abs circuit
  • 5 min jog
  • legs and butt circuit
  • 5 min interval waking at the highest incline (15)
  • more butts, abs, and triceps

GREAT workout. Sweaty, hot, painful, and amazing. After the workout, I took a dip in her pool, since I was intensely hot, and because it was such a nice day, and because I love being in the water. Yes it is the end of November. Yes it is an outdoors pool. Yes it is still 70+degrees out. Yes I do love Santa Barbara ๐Ÿ™‚

I am surrounded by sunlight

I am surrounded by sunlight

My hair frizzed, and it looked like I had horns

My hair frizzed, and it looked like I had horns

FYI – I am gonna start posting more pics of me from now on. This is because I am a narcissist, and I think I am the coolest thing to look at.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I am totally just kidding! The real reason is that my mom, who reads this blog, lives in Japan, and only gets to see me once a year. She has requested more photos of me, so she can keep up with what her daughter is up to. (making sure I stay out of trouble, haha). So bear with me. My mama misses me ๐Ÿ˜‰

After the workout, I went home, deep conditioned my hair with the sample treatment my hair stylist in Tokyo gave me, did laundry, took a 30 min nap, and did some reading for work. And then I got bored…… I guess I’m not used to having so much free time…? How can this be? All week long I wish for free time and when I DO have it, I get bored? Insanity. Good thing I know the perfectย remedy!

I set out on a leisurely walk to get some fresh air, and kill some time while still being active and productive! My one and only goal was to see the OCEAN! I walked through the “shopping” area of Santa Barbara, and got distracted by Old Navy and World Market. I was soooooooooo tempted to shop more. It was very tough to walk away, but I did it. Phew. I’m so glad I didn’t spend more money I don’t have. Success! My walk was nice, slow, and relaxing, minus the occasional annoyance I felt at the crowd of people. But I did take a picture of a very pretty interesection:

I finally did make it to the ocean, and walked alongside it for awhile, and turned around to go home. It was a nice hour and a half walk. And then I got to talk to one of my best friends on the phone for about an hour. It was so great to catch up! ๐Ÿ™‚

And as promised, I am going to share with you the recipe for Rachel’s super duper Caribbean Turkey Burgers! (they are out of this world!) Try to use fresh herbs if you can. It will make the world of a difference. (is that the correct phrase? sometimes I get American sayings wrong)

they taste AMAZING as meat balls too!

they taste AMAZING as meat balls too! Pictured with some spinach, hummus, and pineapple-cranberry sauce.

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 tsp allspice berries
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp vinegar
1/8 cup minced chives
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Directions:
1. Toast the allspice berries lightly in dry skillet and grind them and the peppercorns finely.
2. Mix with remaining dry spices. Then add minced garlic, the chives, and the vinegar, and mix.
3. Add the meat, the egg, and breadcrumbs, and mix very well.
4. Form into patties, (or meat balls) and broil on both sides until done, about 15 minutes.

Rachel also made a honey-mustard sauce using honey and mustard (duh) and cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and S+P. ย Major yum factor. Makes darned good leftovers too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, I still have whole other day to relax and enjoy. I am planning to do some yoga, some grocery shopping, and some cooking for the upcoming week. I am so excited! But until then, I’m gonna make some hot chocolate and do some reading. What a great Saturday evening.

I hope you all are having an enjoyable weekend! And thanks for all your comments; they really do brighten up my day ๐Ÿ™‚ Please keep ’em coming! You are all the bestest! ๐Ÿ™‚

Question; So as I explained, I sometimes mess up American phrases/sayings. But apparently, I’m not the only one! Just recently, I saw that someone had written “chalk full antioxidants,” instead of “chock full.” It mad me chuckle. Have you ever had a humorous error with a phrase/saying?

Double Question: OK, this is aย dilemma I am facing. I’m usually broke, but I have some $ to treat myself. (it is the holidays) The question is, do I get 1 new pair of Lululemon yoga pants, or do I get a few (two or three) cheaper clothing items?ย ย I wear yoga pants almost every single day, so a new one would be nice…. but having a couple new things would be nice too. What would you do??????


Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | November 29, 2008

Juliabars…. or more like Juliaballs

Black Friday….!

Is it a blessing or a curse??? I went out with the intention of buying socks and only socks. (All my socks slide down my ankle into my sneakers, and it’s really annoying… does anyone else get this problem?) BUT of course, I couldn’t come home with only socks. I ended up buying two sweaters at the Gap. Hey, they were having a Buy One Get One Free sale. So I don’t feel too guilty ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I have no recollection how I ended up on this page, but I found Camilla’s blog Enlightened Cooking, where she made her own Larabars. WTF!!!!!!! You can MAKE YOUR OWN LARABAR???? I was extremely intrigued. Apparently, you can take dates, cashews, chop it up in the food processor, and mash em together, and voila! You have a larabar. No friggin way!!!

So I bought some dates and roasted cashews, put ’em in the food processor, and mashed them together. So easy!

Juliabar

Juliabar

Here is my version of the Larabar against a Hawaiian backdrop. I guess they are more like Laraballs than Larabars. They turned out great though! Not QUITE as good as a Larabar….yet! They definitely have potential. I think next time, I will buy higher quality dates (mine were really blah), and not chop up my cashews so finely. But it was such a fun activity, and I am excited to try new flavor combos, with almonds, and dried fruit pieces.

This project made me want to make out a shout out to Veggie Girl, because I know how much she loves Larabars! ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe she could perfect this recipe???? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I don’t know if making your own Larabars is more cost effective than buying them at the store or not. For a whole tub of dates and cashews, I was only able to make a handful of these balls. I think it might actually be cheaper (???) just to buy the Larabars, because you would have to buy a LOT of dates and cashews to make a whole bar, and neither dates nor cashews are cheap. But they sure are fun to make!

A close up:

close up on Juliaball

close up on Juliaball

Friday Workout

I finally worked out today, in Rachel’s super duper nice gym. It wasn’t the best run by any means, but it sure felt good to sweat and work off some of this entire week’s indulgences. I ran/walked for 40 minutes broken down like this:

3 min walking (warm up)
10 min run at my usual running pace
5 minutes interval running (changing ace every 30 seconds, incorporating a lot of sprints)
10 minutes interval walking at the highest incline (my machine goes up to 15). I change the speed every 30 seconds, from jogging to slow walking
8 minutes jogging at my usual pace
4 minutes cool down walking

This got me nice and sweaty. I also did some core work and worked on my triceps. I did my new favorite crunch: the diamond crunch, aka the clam crunch. I will have a demo of this exercise soon!

I don’t know how long we worked out, cause we were just having fun watching Ellen, chit chatting, and working out. I really wish my house came with a gym! That would be soooo nice. One day…. one day…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Rachel and I are going to work out again tomorrow. I think I am going to concentrate on my butt, legs, and core tomorrow, and less cardio. I can’t wait!

Friday dessert

Rachel’s yummy chocolate pumpkin bread. Can you tell I enjoyed it a lot? ๐Ÿ˜‰ So moist, chocolatey, cinnamony, and perfect. Rachel, you are an amazing baker.

Oh, PS – I have the recipe for the Caribbean Jerk rub for our turkey burger last night. It is so amazing, and I can’t wait to share it all with you… tomorrow! ๐Ÿ˜‰

mmmmm tastes like the holidays

mmmmm tastes like the holidays

get in my belly

get in my belly

Can’t you just see how MOIST is it? daaaang.

I hope you all had a fun Black Friday. Did you find any GREAT DEALS anywhere?

I’m LOVING this four day weekend! I’m gonna watch Top Chef reruns and clean up my room. Bye all, and see you tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | November 28, 2008

A new twist

Happy happy turkey day everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely day filled with the company of loved ones, and of course, loved food!

I had a GREAT thanksgiving day with my friend Rachel. We cooked our first turkey day meal together, but with a twist!

We cooked aย CARIBBEANย thanksgiving turkey dinner ๐Ÿ˜‰

Since we were only cooking for three, we didn’t want to cook an entire turkey. Plus, we wanted to try new flavors, and expand our repertoire with new flavor combinations. So we went with Caribbean Jerk Spice Turkey Burgers. Ummmm… heaven!!! Not only was this burger extremely exotic and flavorful, it was new, exciting, different, and easy!!! It was exceptionally tastey, because Rachel used all fresh herbs and spices. I think fresh spices make ALL the difference in the world! This burger had an amazing cinnamon flavor, and some heat from the cayenne pepper. It was such a refreshing twist to the traditional roasted turkey!

ย 

Caribbean themed burger

Caribbean themed burger

We took turkey and sweet potatoes, which are classic Turkey day ingredients, and put a tropical twist to it. The burger contained breadcrumbs, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, chives, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, cumin, and probably some more spices. (Rachel…! Please teach me how to make this recipe!) The sweet potatoes had brown sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and cumin. Amazing. Fabulous.

ย 

Our Thanksgiving Dinner

Our Thanksgiving Dinner

We also had the yummy pumpkin cake I made for James for dessert. James is in Texas with his relatives for the break. But he’s going to be gone for 6 days!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’m really sad about this. I really miss him already….! And he’s only been gone for two days. But I still don’t get to see him for four more days. Booooo. It’s so hard, because we live so close and we basically get to see each other almost every day, or at least every other day. So it’s hard to not see him for so long….. BUT. Instead of complaining today, I should be GRATEFUL that I have such an AMAZING person in my life I get to spend so much time with, and look forward to Monday night, when I get to see him. ๐Ÿ™‚ And for all of you who have long distance relationships, I have so much respect for you. You are all such troopers! But let’s be thankful for the love we are fortunate enough to have enough to experience in our lives โค

ย 

pumpkin cake with powdered sugar sprinkled on top

pumpkin cake with powdered sugar sprinkled on top

Back to the topic of food, the pumpkin cake was moist, fluffy, and perfect.ย 

Confession; I ate 2/3 of the cake. By myself. I am not kidding or lying. Oops. hahaย 

I also ate about 1/3 of a key lime pie. (not photographed.) Sugar high much? ๐Ÿ˜‰

ย 

sweet potato fries

sweet potato fries

We did have one KITCHEN CATASTROPHE. Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without a mishap, right? haha. Well, I have gonna make Butternut Squash Fries. OK. I cut up the squash, line it up on the baking tray, sprinkle a little oil on it, and sprinkle some salt onto it. I was on my last sprinkle of salt when POOF!

The lid of the salt canister fell off, and the ENTIRE contents of the salt container spilled onto my butternut squash!!!! The entire pan is covered in a mountain of salt. Sea salt, none the less. I can only see tiny bits of the squash peeking through the salt. Oooooooh crap! What do I do….?

I decided to shake off the excess salt and bake it anyway. I take it out, and try a little taste. ICK! EW! Peee-ew! Yucko! Ugh. It was like eating a spoonful of sea salt. It was quite possibly the saltiest thing I have ever eaten. I tried to salvage it by baking it with some brown sugar. Didn’t work. I tried making butternut squash soup with some chicken stock, butter,cream, olive oil, milk, and brown sugar. (Not low-calorie at all!) It did make it taste good, but it was sooooooo salty still! I even put some sliced potatoes in there, because apparently, potatoes suck up some of the saltiness. Didn’t work. I really tried my best to salvage my butternut squash disaster, but alas, at the end of the night, I had to throw it away. I hate throwing food away. Oh well. It was soooooooo salty. In the process of trying to save my disaster, I ended up eating so much salt! I was incredibly thirsty for the rest of the night and ended up chugging like, 7 cups of water! haha.

All in all, I had such a great thanksgiving day ๐Ÿ™‚ It was so nice to spend it with such a great friend. It definitely helps me miss James less. I hope everyone had a great day too, free of kitchen catastrophes!!!!!

And because today is a day of being thankful, I wanted to share photos that make me feel incredibly grateful ๐Ÿ™‚

Me and Rachel. What is wrong with my leg...????????

Me and Rachel. What is wrong with my leg...????????

my favorite girls

my favorite girls

And last but not least, I am thankful for all my fantastic blog readers!ย 

I’m off to run a bajillion miles tomorrow morning to run off some of that cake!

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | November 25, 2008

Rain, Rain, (Don’t) Go Away

I feel like we are FINALLY entering into fall/winter weather here in Santa Barbara. For the first time, the weather is in the low 60’s, and it’s cloudy. It actually started raining about half an hour ago. We don’t get rain much here, so I’m not complaining. I’m actually going to admit that I kind of enjoy it. (I never ever like rain) It feels nice, cool (not cold), and moist. Though I do want it to stop by tonight ๐Ÿ™‚

I was really stoked last night, when I got to be a guest blogger on Tina’s blog Carrots ‘n’ Cake. Hers was one of the first food blogs I came across, and have been hooked ever since! I shared an easy and delicious Tofu Gratin recipe, and my thoughts entitles “Why Julia thinks Japanese women don’t get fat,” from my experience growing up in Tokyo. Please check the post out HERE, and Tina’s amazing blog devoted to a healthy balance!

I was also stoked cause I did some yoga from Yogadownload.com. Yoga never fails to put me in a better mood. More calm, more grounded, more positive. Love it. Can’t get enough of it!

Last night was James’ birthday, so I baked him a super moist and perfect and delicious Pumpkin Cake. (PS – thanks to all of you who wished him a good one! He blushed when I told him he had so many people thinking of him! ๐Ÿ™‚ how cute)

Happy Birthday James!

Happy Birthday James!

The cake was incredibly amazing for how simple it was! It was soooo moist, soft, and flavorful. I thought of doing a pumpkin pie for his b-day, but pie just somehow isn’t birthday-ish enough, so I went with the cake. But it tastes just like pie! Maybe even better ๐Ÿ™‚

I know it’s a simple looking cake, but we are simple people who enjoy the simple things in life. ๐Ÿ™‚ And plus, it’s the thought/effort that counts ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cake; close up

Cake; close up

After putting in all the candles, the cake was full of holes, but it tasted soย  yummy. This cake recipe is a keeper! (It only has 3 ingredients in it!)

Although the day was fantastic, there was just one sad detail. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I polished off the last bit of my first jar of Barney Butter. I FINALLY was able to find a jar when we went to the Whole Foods in Thousand Oaks. (read post here) I was ecstatic to try it out, and boy, it did NOT disappoint! I tried the Crunchy style, and it kind of made my head spin, it was so good.

Until we meet again....

Until we meet again....

Have you all had a chance to try this amazing almond butter? It was heavenly on my bananas, and equally heavenly on bread. I tried with all my will power not to gobble it all down in three days. I fought with temptation, and was able to make it last a whole EIGHT days! Yeeah, three cheers for Julia! I am actually very sad that it is all gone….. I never got a chance to try it with pumpkin. I really hope to get my paws on another jar very very soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰

PS – don’t you just love the beautiful color that is my bedroom wall? I affectionately refer to it as “puke green.” It is most definitely NOT my color of choice (eeew). I’ve been wanting to re-paint it ever since I moved in. But alas, procastination has been winning this war….. I guess it’s not as bad as the bedroom one of my friends recently moved into; NEON ELECTRIC BLUE. Man, I wonder who in the world thought that neon wall color was a good idea? At least puke green is not that offensive…. What do you think would be the worst room color ever?

I generally think anything NEON should be off limits. Also, I would not like to live in a bedroom with black walls; too depressing.

Changing topics, I am psyched that tomorrow is my “Friday.” I can’t wait till the break! My friend and I are going to cook our first ever Thanksgiving meal together, bcs neither of us can make it home this year. I’m very excited about this culinary adventure we are going to have! Hopefully, everythings will turn out OK and we won’t have a kitchen catastrophe.

Ok, gotta go search for some yummy Turkey day recipes! ๐Ÿ™‚ Then I’m gonna go to the new Conditioning Specialists‘ new group fitness class, “Battle of the Bulge.” Can’t wait to feel the burn and sweat!

Hope all of you have a great afternoon/evening!

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | November 24, 2008

An early feast

Weekends are always too short!

Saturday

Sorry for not posting this weekend, but I just didn’t make it to the computer! But let’s jump right into it. Saturday morning, I went to another Bootycamp SB Class to take notes and learn more exercises and how to teach the class. Learned some cool new moves like Partner Push ups. For Brunch, James and I went to the Coffee Cat and I had a lovely Caramel Gingerbread Latte, and James had absolutely the most delicious Pumpkin Latte ever. It tasted exactly like pumpkin pie!

And then we headed down State St to go to Backyard Bowls, a new joint I’ve been wanting to try out. They have smoothies and Acai Bowls. I’ve never had an acai bowl before, so we ordered one of those. Good gracious it was yummy! I guess I would describe it as a super thick smoothie made of fruits and acai, and topped with granola and more fresh fruit. It’s served in a bowl, and you eat it with a spoon. It had a great, mild sweetness, and tartness from the berries. It was smooth, rich, cool, and healthy! It’s so yummy, and I most DEFINITELY want to go back to try new flavors! ๐Ÿ™‚

acai bowl

acai bowl. Soooo good!

The rest of Saturday was spent on my bed. I was just soooooooooooo fatigued, I couldn’t do ANYTHING. Not even read blogs! (Gasp!) I was too tired to even nap. I just kind of sat/laid on my bed all afternoon until I managed to drag my ass out of bed to bake a batch of Non Fat Apple-Pumpkin-Banana Muffins. I just kind of made of the recipe from all the leftover food I had lying around, but they turned out PERFECT! So moist and flavorful. Yum. Sorry, no photos, but please use your imagination to visualize a brown looking muffin. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunday

Now onto Sunday. Good Golly. What a day!
My house had it’s like, 8th Annual Thanksgiving Feast.

Apparently, it’s been a long tradition at our house. Since I moved into my house this June, it was my first time partaking in this gastronomical festival. One of my housemates is some sort of genius in the kitchen (wooooah, how come I didn’t know about this!!!! hello, new best friend! ๐Ÿ™‚ ), and heย  cooked up a Thanksgiving Spread for 20 PEOPLE. Yes, you heard it right, 20 friggin people!!! And he went all out, with a baked ham, a 24 pound turkey, yams, taters, green beans…. champagne….. Dang!

The day started off at 10am with some football and a cracker/cheese/salami/chips/coffee/mimosa spread.

Morning spread

Morning spread

It was amazing. I woke up to the smell of stuffing being made, and champagne to start off my day. Fantastic! Our hose was decorated all pretty, and I was just so excited to help in the kitchen and eat all this yummy food! I was in charge of the cornbread muffins (We used TJ’s cornbread mix, and added a can of corn kernels), the Caesar salad, chopping the taters for the world’s yummiest mashed potatoes (I’m not kidding. They were OUTRAGEOUSLY fantastic), chopping up the apples, and other odd jobs here and there. It was so much fun to have so many people eating, drinking, and cooking in our kitchen to some Bob Marley tunes. Nothing like cookin up good eats to some reggae! ๐Ÿ™‚

We set up a huuuuuge conglomerate of tables in our living room so we could all eat together instead of separating into separate tables.

yum

yum

And here is the biggest turkey I have ever seen

Huge effin bird

Huge effin bird

A little over half the bird fed 20 people. And here is the Master Chef and the man of the night carving up the turkey

Ridiculously moist turkey

Ridiculously moist turkey

I haven’t eaten that many turkeys in my life (we don’t do Thanksgiving in Japan), but this was quite possibly the most moist and delicious turkey ever. He had stuffed it with fresh herbs and veggies, and the entire turkey had this great Rosemary flavor going through it. It seriously did not need ANY gravy! It was so flavorful and amazing.

And since we had so many people we served gravy in pitchers (for those who wanted it)

pitchers of gravy

pitchers of gravy

Here is my yummy spread before I went for seconds! ๐Ÿ™‚

so delicious

so delicious

Other than the turkey, there were two dishes I absolutely adored. First was the cranberry sauce. My housemat had combined a can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce with a can of crushed pineapples. I never in a million years would have thought to put those two together, but I am so glad he did! It was out of control. So tart, sweet, and refreshing. And you know what the best part is? It’s horrifically good on top of vanilla ice cream.

My other favorite side dish was the yams. We baked half of it with some marshmallows on top, and the other half with this pecan pie-ish topping on top. Yowza. I lost all control. Seriously good. Too good. Drool….

We also had a great collection of some fantastic wines, courtesy of our guests. Here are two of my favorites

Red and white

Red and white

And don’t forget the dessert. We had pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, ice cream, and hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps. Seriously. OMG.

heavenly

heavenly

Clearly, everyone was STUFFED beyond belief after this feast. Some guys damn near passed out and James thought he was gonna have an athsma attack from all this food! Haha. It was so good. We all joked that we probably weren’t gonna be able to eat until acutal Thanksgiving becasue we were all so full! ๐Ÿ™‚

So anyway, that is why I had a huuuuuge food hangover this morning. I thought I would have a light, refreshing lunch, but goshdarnit. All the left overs looked so good, I ended up having another feast. Oh well. It’s only once a year. I’ll splurge ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s so good it’s worth all the heart clogging calories. I’ll go on a run or something later, lol!

So sorry for not posting, I promise I will keep you updated better this week!

I hope everyone had a gorgeous weekend andย  great Monday.

Oh! And today is James’ birthday. Wish him a good one! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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