Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seed: The People's Market

Check out the coolest place that Jarod and I have yet to discover in the OC, down in Costa Mesa. It's Seed the People's Market. It's a riveting little collection of organic bistro's [they grow their veggies & herbs right outside the entrance], nifty boutiques and plenty of nooks and crannies for outside seating. It's super earthy, a shade hippy and probably way too trendy for us. But, we like that it has a FAB outdoor gear shop!! Check it out:

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Weekend in Yosemite Valley

We were completely blessed this past weekend by my Aunt Leigh from Oregon. She gave us her voucher for a free two night stay in a cabin up in Yosemite National Park. It was a truly wonderful getaway from the city. My work gave me the day off on Friday, so around lunch, Jarod and I made the 6 hour trek from Los Angeles up to the center of the state. And... what a beautiful drive and view. California really is gorgeous once you leave the Inland Empire :)

We made fires in the woodstove, had plenty of coffee and ginger snaps, played with Taiga in the woods, threw sticks in the river behind our cabin and couldn't have asked for a better trip of peace and relaxing.

Driving down to the Valley, we got our first glimpse from the overlook near the exit of the tunnel.

El Capitan is on the left, Half Dome in the back center and the Cathedral Group on the right, with Bridalveil Falls flowing.
This is at the base of the Valley looking up at The Captain.

Half Dome in traditional Ansel Adams style.

Yosemite is clearly picturesque.
Jarod, with Middle Cathedral behind him, where he climbed Border Country last fall.

It was so hard to leave the park. We truly miss the quiet and the peacefulness of God's creation. I think we both learned that living in an urban community requires us take a respite into the wilderness on a regular basis. We need to remember the solitude, the stillness, the place where sighs can be let out and serenity let in, so we can serve happily and heartily in this season of our lives.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I am just now discovering this very cool site, GoodReads. It is basically a facebook-type set up for readers. It includes reviews, groups, friends, ratings, etc. But my favorite part is being able to post what books I have read and to be able to look at other people's "bookshelves." I am always on the prowl for another good book. And now I have a little more direction :) Feel free to take a look at My Books on my bookshelf. I would also love suggestions for fabulous ones missing from my list!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Soup

I am home today, sick with some sort of throat/sinus yuck... I have slept most of the day, and am starting to feel better. And many thanks to the dear treatment my hubby gave me. He got up at 2:30am last night, to make me hot peppermint tea; and this morning, he made eggs so I could take some medicine.

Having a little bit of energy, and craving something hot and soft on my throat.. I made this recipe. It literally took about 7 minutes to prepare and only about 15 to cook. Right now, it smells wonderful. I love the smell of the thyme and mushrooms together. Mmm.

Of course, there is no way I can ever follow a recipe exactly, so my alterations included adding some sweet corn and substituting regular yellow onions for the small green ones (because I didn't have those) and also omitting celery, again because there was none in my fridge. I also added about 1 cp of water and replaced fresh garlic with garlic powder (I am sick and dicing garlic is my least favorite thing, even when I am well). I wish I had some nice, hearty, grainy bread to dip in the soup... maybe I can sweet talk Jarod into that :)


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1 large rib celery, diced
  • 12 to 16 ounces sliced mushrooms, a combination of fresh mushroom varieties, if desired
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


In a large stockpot, heat butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add diced chicken, carrot, onion, garlic and celery; cook, stirring, until chicken is nearly cooked through. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring, until mushrooms are tender. Stir in flour until blended; add chicken broth and thyme. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cover and reduce heat to low; cook for about 10 to 16 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste; stir in cream and heat through.

Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another 49 Days

Last weekend (Easter) ended my 49 days of no coffee... That was a big accomplishment for me, and since last weekend, I have had at least 1 cup a day. (YES!) But abstaining from coffee was beneficial on multiple levels. The first being to show myself that yes, I can have self discipline! Secondly, it introduced me to the clean, light feeling of hot tea in the mornings. And thirdly, that it is possible to abstain successfully and not merit the addicted title of "coffee drinker" :)

Having accomplished refraining from coffee for 7 weeks, I am now going to add something for another 7 weeks. I am adding a daily dose of exercise for 7 weeks. I have found that it is too easy to sit all day at work, come home and start on house chores or commitments, and then realize that several days have passed since I last exercised my body.

Here is my plan. 49 days of something physical on an everyday basis. That could mean: a jog, a power walk, a bike ride, yoga, laps in the pool, plyometrics, pilates, weight lifting or a cross training workout.. Just something to get me moving everyday! I do know that too many consecutive days in a row can be actually detrimental to one's health, so I will do a "light" exercise once every 7 days... just to make sure I do have a semi-rest day.

Now, what's so magical about "49"? Nothing really, that just happened to be how many days out from Easter I was when I started the no coffee thing.. and it just happens to be how many days out from 1] Florida trip for my bro's wedding 2] last day of work and 3] moving to Colorado for the summer.

So I actually started this on Thursday and it is thus far successful! It will mean cutting a few things, making sacrifices, getting up when it's dark or going to bed a little later. But I am counting on having more energy because of the exercise. And, it's just for 49 days, so it's possible!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Angel's Game

On a whim, Jarod and I bought $5 tickets to an Angel's vs. Oakland A's baseball game last night. What a super fun date! The Angel's lost, but there was still a lot of action (10-4). Two home runs and an AWESOME firework display that beats most 4th of July celebrations. We had a blast! More photos from the "nice" camera to come!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lemon Ice

It's hot outside. It's hot inside. I am hot laying on this couch trying to read. Taiga is panting. I purposely took a cold shower and left my hair wet to try to cool down. Both fans are on high. But I am still hot. There isn't a cloud in the sky, just bright, hot sunshine and no breeze. It is time for a cooler. A nice, lemon cooler... I had been googling recipes for lemony treats.. but all required the oven to be on (and that is NOT an option right now!) So.. time for a little experiment in the blender. I walked outside and picked 3 lemons off the lemon tree, washed them and cut them in thin slices. I put the slices (peel and all) in the blender with a little sugar (I think I'll try honey next time). That blended for about 30 seconds, then I added a whole tray of ice cubes. I now have a fabulous Italian Lemon Ice Cooler. Experiment success!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Weekend

After 49 days of no coffee, I celebrated Easter morning in Idyllwild with an Orange Mocha Latte.

Tyler Danyla and Jarod at the campsite in the mountains.

In Joshua Tree, Jarod refusing to pose with me... instead he's watching his climber he's belaying. Safety first, photos second.
Random Dome turning off 29 Palms to JTree.. "There's No Place like 'Dome'."

The last leg of our trip... Poor, lil Jetta overheated and had to be towed 70 miles back to LA.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Tent!

Last summer we traded away our two tents... the old Trango (which I loved--but was heavy at 12 lbs) and the Beta Lite (which served its purpose well for desert camping, but had no real use outside screaming 100 degrees). So we have been tent-less... and, there has been several times, since last August, that having a tent would have made living the lives we do, much easier. (At least for me, this is where Jarod would probably disagree and say that we could just sleep outside) However, as much as I love my husband and his knack for the outdoors.. I must draw the line when it comes to outdoor sleeping. I need a tent! So, with part of our tax return money (whoop-whoop) we purchased a tent last nite.

At 8pm we drove to the Burbank/Glendale area (the northwest part of the Greater LA area) and met up with a man to check out his tent listing on Craig's list. TWO HOURS later, Bill (the tent seller) had told us of his adventures in Nepal, Asia, India, Alaska, ice climbing, summitting K2!!, and multiple, many month long, mountaineering trips. This guy was pretty amazing, but what struck me the most, was his modesty and hesitation to divulge these AWESOME accomplishments. I mean, we were talking with a man that has stood on top of K2.. that is pretty freakin' awesome. And, since I had read [plug for this AWESOME book] Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea, I could follow his trek through Skardu, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. Bill and Jarod have decided to stay in contact and connect for later exchanging of adventures together--Jarod with the rock climbing & Bill with mountaineering/ice climbing. So cool! Also, Bill's "real" job is a grip. What's a grip you ask, he's the one who is stabilizing the camera and building structures for the camera's cool angles. He has done multiple movies and is currentlly the grip for Desperate HouseWives. Haha. (It's still weird for me to live in this city).

Anyway, the tent is pretty bombproof and we are totally happy about it. We also purchased a Thermarest for me! YES! I am very excited about that :) And.. in two days, we will get to put our new toys to the test. However, I am pretty sure that since this tent has been to base camp of the Karakoram Range, our new tent can handle ANYTHING we put it through :)