{friday 5}

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Happy Friday, friends….hope you had a great week!  Cant even begin to believe that Christmas is two weeks away.  NUTS!  My weekend to-do’s are growing by the minute.  What’s on your list for the weekend?  I get to see one of my favorite group of ladies tonight for margs + cheers.  Baklava making with the Corbett babes.  Sleeping in.  Myabe even brunch?  And of course, wrapping gifts.

Have a good on, k!!

Don’t even think I’m going to let you go that quickly….I’ve got 5 things on my mind first…..

ONE – Goat Cheese Balls //  When I say it out loud all I can think of is Stassi on Vanderpump Rules.  Her love for SUR goat cheese balls is real.  She even tweeted about it: here!  Ha.  Anyway, I was assigned an appetizer for our yearly Omega Nu Holiday party.  I knew it had to be cheese, for obvious reasons.  I LOVE CHEESE!  And I’ve yet to play with goat cheese.  Soooo, I googled that shit.  Came up with about 8,732 recipes.  ALL fried.  I don’t fry.  Therefore I had to play with it a healthy it up a bit.

Goat cheese + honey + herbs + BAKED!  Bam!  Healthy-er!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 oz. goat cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey (extra for drizzling)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 cup walnut, crushed in food processor

 

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Stir together goat cheese + all spices + honey.

In two separate bowls you’ll need whisked egg + chopped walnuts.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop goat cheese mixture and form into a ball.

Roll goat cheese ball in whisked egg then walnuts.

Place on lined cookie sheet.

Repeat will remaining goat cheese.

Freeze for 1 hour.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Bake on cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Serve warm with additional honey drizzled over the top.  Crackers or bread are a must too!

 

 

TWO – Ojai // I’m devastated to hear about the fires in Southern California.  Hasn’t CA had it’s fair share of fires for the year?  Or forever, yet?  Then to top it off, as I’ve been working on my {ojia // travelogue part #2}, the best part of the trip.  I was saddened to see that Ojai Valley Inn, the most beautiful resort I have visited to date, is under evacuation.  See this photo below?  I took this as I was sitting at the Ojai Valley Inn pool.  Less than 30 day ago.  It’s unreal that this could be gone.

Pray for California ♥

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THREE – Christmas Tree Frap // Starbucks debuted the seasonal Frap yesterday.  It all stared with the Unicorn Frap the Dragon and Cherry Blossom Frap.  The Zommbie + Vampire made a quick go around during October.  Which leads us to the final for the year….the Christmas Tree Frap.

Delicious mocha and peppermint are blended with milk and ice, topped with a festive tree made of matcha infused whipped cream, a caramel drizzle and candied cranberries finished off with a strawberry tree “topper.”

I picked one up for the queen of seasonal fraps….aka Bay.

I personally thought it looked like a seven layer dip in a Starbucks cup.  With a strawberry on top. It even smelled funny too.

The Frap Queens review:

It tastes like melty mint chocolate chip ice cream + coffee.

She LOVEEEDDD it.  And is currently wanting to hit every Starbucks insight to scoop up one of these $5 drinks before they vanish.

My review:

Dis-gus-ting!!!!

Coming from a black coffee non frap drinking girl.

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{apricot balsamic pork chops}

Apricot jam + golden balsamic vinegar….drool!  Pork chops with a sweet + sour glaze.  It’s a combo you just can’t go wrong with.  Then you add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little added spice.

Perfection!

 

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Remember a couple of months ago I canned apricot jam with my Aunt Penny?  I wrote about it here: {weekend notes} Well, I’ve been meaning to incorporate the jam into a new recipe since.  It’s just so good, that I knew it would be a key player in any recipe.  And I was 100% correct.  Don’t worry though, store bought will definitely do the trick too!

I like sauce and I cannot lie, but I could have drank the leftover sauce from the recipe.  Not even joking.

Not to mention, this recipe is quick + easy.

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{peanut butter cup cheerios treats}

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Move over Rice Krispies Treats, there’s a new treat in town.

What could be better than Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios + marshmallows?  NOTHING!  Trust me!  Nothing at all.

They’re just as sticky + sweet, but with the new Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios in place of the rice krispies.  That’s it!

I fell in love with this cereal.  And if you follow me on instagram stories, you are well aware of my new-found love.

I was 100% winging it on this one.

And the results….

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{weekend notes}

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Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving + long weekend.  It was the perfect break to spend time with family + friends.  Relax.  Cook.  And do a little exploring too.

Here’s a peek at some of our highlights…..

 

 

Baby Daniel cuddles //

This may be our new Friday night thing!

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And the best alphabet book finally arrived  ♥

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AB to Jay-Z

If you’re having alphabet problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but my ABC’s ain’t one.

E is for Eazy E

and he’s cruising down the street in his 6 4

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My personal fave….

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The book is super cute and we cracked up reading each letter and singing the song that goes with it.  Makes a great baby gift.   But, the delivery sucks.  I ordered this book back in September and it came last week.  That’s entirely unacceptable!!

 

Running of the Turkey’s //

Our Thanksgiving morning tradition.  But first, you order grande pikes in venti cups.  Have you mom pick them up on the way.  Fill them up with Bailey’s!  Perfect way to start the cold morning, if you ask me!

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Bay ditched us within seconds of finding friends to actually run with.  My mom + I are more of the walking with the turkeys.  We go at the same speed as the turkey’s on El Dorado + Midway.  Slow AF!

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Thanksgiving baking //

Bay made the cutest turkey cupcakes.

Super simple too.

Bake cupcakes or buy them at raleys.

Frost.

Add 6 candy corns to a mega stuffed oreo.  It’s a thing!

Top with candy eyeballs + a candy corn nose.

Voila!

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I whipped up (literally) a pumpkin pie with meringue topping.

Mainly so I could torch the top.  I love it!

 

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I got lots of DM’s about my top + the dish……

Pioneer Women Pie Dish (from good ol Walmart) 

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Shit you not, this top is currently $10!!!  That’s a steal.

Use code: SHOPFAST 

J.Crew Gingham one-shoulder ruffle top

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Thanksgiving //

BIG thanks to Uncle Sal + Aunt Penny for hosting the perfect family feast ♥

I was in charge of setting a pretty table.

Obvi I brought along the eucalyptus + pumpkins + knotted napkins.

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GG + Daniel

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Olive fingers!

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Look at that plate…lol!  And a side a chard, in a solo cup!

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Followed by a couple rounds of 31.

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Girlfriend day date //

Downtown Sacramento is absolutely beautiful this time of year.  All the colors of fall.

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And I got to #chardsohard with my #1 chard homegirl, Nikki!

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Always a good time catching up + laughing our asses off ♥

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Waking up in Tahoe //

Is always a good idea!  Even spur of the moment.

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Left a little Christmas cheer on the cabin door.

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Snow //

We found snow.  Off the beaten path.

 

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Watching a dog discover snow for the first time was pretty great.  She ran around kicking up snow + eating snow + rolling in snow.

 

 

Echo Lakes //

Echo Lakes acts as a portal to Desolation Wilderness.   With over 63,000 acres of untouched wilderness.  So fucking cool!

I’ve driven HWY 50 for years and never even knew this little hidden gem existed till a few years ago.  You take the snow park exit and follow the winding roads and signs to the lake.

 

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I finally got to hike around Echo Lake.  It’s been on my list to-do.   We took the Tahoe Rim trail a couple of miles in.

One of the most scenic trails I’ve been on.  Every turn I wanted to take another picture.

I can’t wait to come back in the Spring and take the water ferry to get back in and explore Upper Echo Lake.

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Lake Aloha has been added to the Spring to-do’s, that’s for sure!

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Cabins are scattered all around the lake.  Right on the water.  Accessible by boat or hiking only.

They were all boarded up for the winter.  Clearly they get a lot of snow.

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The trail is well maintained and I think it would be a great day hike even with kids.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas //

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Our tree that we cut down over a week ago, was standing undercoated in our living room.   We designated Sunday to be our deck the halls day.

George Strait Christmas included……

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{tip for hosting a stress-free holiday}

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T (urkey) minus 2 days!  Ha!  I had to.

Okay guys, I was thinking last week….

People get so stressed out about hosting.  I honestly LOVE it.  Weird?  Maybe?  I think I’ve done it so much that I’m really comfortable opening my home just about anytime of the year.  But, Holidays.  Holidays are my jam.  #holidaywhore.

I wanted to share some tips for stress-free hosting that I think might just make you chill the fuck out a little bit.

Here we go…..

 

Prep!

Do as much prep as possible ahead of time.  This is probably the biggest NO BRAINER!  It’s also is the one thing that makes the biggest difference.  Stay up late if you have to.  Run all your errands on your lunch break.  Make shit happen.  Groceries + paper products.  Grab an extra pack of TP.  And definitely DON’T forget lotttsss of wine.  That way the day of, you will be smooth sailing!

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You don’t have to make everything from scratch!

Cut yourself some slack sister.  I guarantee not a single person at your table is going to give a fuck that your rolls came from Nugget.  Shit, they might even be better than the 5 hours you could have put into making them from scratch.  Don’t chance killing the yeast!  How about pies?  You think guests aren’t going to smother that Costco pumpkin pie in cool whip and lick their plates clean?  Trust me….you’re gonna to be just fine.  And if they do mention somthing, then remove them from next years guest list.  You don’t want a jerk at your table anyway 🙂

 

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Set your table in advance!

The day before, or maybe even….the week before, take your time.  Set a pretty table.  Admire it.  Pull out all that fancy silverware + china you never use.  Have fun with it.  Then the night before or the day of, all you have to do is add some greenery or fresh flowers and you’re set.

I went with my forever favorite, eucalyptus.  It’s timeless.  Goes with everything.  You will always find a vase of eucalyptus in my home, year round.

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Ask your guests to bring a favorite dish!

Everyone likes to contribute, well except for lazy assholes..Ha.  It can get fun to see what your peeps sentimental dish may be.  Doesn’t each family have that one weird/odd item they HAVE to have on turkey day?  You get to try something new and hear a fun background story as to how this dish became so important.  Ours would have to be pretzel jello salad.  Every time a newbie comes to Thanksgiving they never know what to think.  But you better believe they ask for seconds.

 

{Anna’s beautiful charcuterie platter}

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{weekend notes}

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Happy Monday.  Happy Thanksgiving week/short week!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Here’s a little peak at ours……

 

Intentions for the week:

  • Friendsgiving x2
  • Go to the damn gym (it’s been over a week)
  • Enjoy time with family + friends
  • Set a pretty table
  • Christmas cards in the mail…Early AF, I know.  It’s how I roll.
  • Make Monkey Bread + Turkey Pot Pie
  • Dickens in the Valley Tickets
  • Catch up with Stover
  • Decorate the Christmas Tree
  • Toss all the pumpkins
  • Go through Christmas bins (shit you not, I’ve got 6 bins filled to the top)
  • Hold my new nephew as much as possible
  • Running of the Turkey’s
  • To Black Friday or not?  Still deciding.

 

Highlights from the weekend…..

 

Baby love //

I got to give my new nephew lots of squeezes this weekend ♥

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I could hold him forever and never get tired of it.  Until he cries, then I pass him to his mama 🙂

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Spencer turned 1 //

We celebrated Spencer’s 1st birthday!

The cake smash.

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Bay would have kept Spencer’s gift, had I let her.

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I was over served.  And I can’t blame it on Martini Mama Liz this time.

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Watched //

I rented The House.  For the second time.  The first time I paid like $16 and never watched the damn movie.  Redbox won that time.  So, I rented it again.  Do you ever just want to watch a funny movie?  This is it.  Dumb AF, but funny AF.  Just want I wanted/needed.  Will Ferrell + Amy Poehler play the part of parents.  Start an illegal casino in their neighbor’s house to make money to send their daughter to college.  They get busted.  Picture those two characters as parents?

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Holiday Cards //

Stamped + ready for the mailbox.  The day after Thanksgiving?  Maybe?  Melika beat me!

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Trader Joe’s //

I’m talking more about hosting + prepping tomorrow on the blog.  But, I always make a Trader Joe’s pit stop for fresh eucalyptus + Bogle chard.  Two key players in any dinner party.  Don’t you think?

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Apple Hill //

Fall Bucket List √

Christmas Tree Hunting!

I know.  Not before Thanksgiving.  I say fuck it.  Do what you want…ha.

Not to mention that the weekend before Thanksgiving is the calm before the storm.  I may get my tree this weekend forever.  Have you been to Apple Hill on the weekend?  Then you know what I’m talking about.

We had no traffic.  No lines.  It was perfect.

We chose Harris Tree Farm this year.  Mainly because it’s one of the ONLY tree farms open before Thanksgiving..lol.

My Tree hunters!

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We walked up and down the acres of tree hunting for the perfect tree.

We found it!  Gram found one too!

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Adorable ornaments that come with the purchase of a tree.

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Harris Tree Farm is the one stop Apple Hill shop!

Cut a Tree

Sit on Santa’s lap

Apple cider donuts

Full Bakery + Lunch options too

Lot’s of decorations for sale.  Ornaments + wreaths + reindeer.

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{the best quinoa salad}

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Just a friendly reminder: remember to eat a fucking salad!

Eating a salad is always a good idea!

And I’ve got The Best Quinoa Salad for you today!

I’ve tried so many quinoa salad recipes and they never do it for me.  To be honest, I’d rather go to the Nugget salad bar and pay $10 for a big ol scoop of their quinoa salad.

Then I dissected the Nugget salad one day and came up with a winner!!!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

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