Thursday, May 30, 2013

Make This!!!

Banana Brownies a.k.a. Monkey Squares!

These are my new favorite baked item to take to potlucks. These brownies are so tasty! Much moister than banana bread with a browned butter frosting and oh so delish!  They bake up in no time & the frosting comes together pretty quickly too. I found the recipe via The Girl Who Ate Everything. Just click on the link for the recipe.

Make these! You will be so glad you did!

Note: I sprinkled mine with a little cinnamon. My kids also like these brownies stored in the fridge, while Omid & I prefer them at room temperature. Either way, these are a winner!☺

Monday, May 27, 2013

Make This!!

Katie brought the most delicious broccoli salad to share at our friends getaway last weekend. I love broccoli salad & have a very good recipe; but Katie's version blows mine out of the water.

Make this salad! It's a winner!!

Katie's Broccoli Salad

3 cups broccoli florets

½ cup chopped red onion

¼ sunflower seeds

½ cup chopped raisins

½ cup feta cheese

½ cup plain yogurt

¼ cup light mayonnaise

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

·         In a bowl mix together yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, and lemon juice.

·         In a salad bowl, stir together broccoli, red onion, sunflower seeds, raisins, and crumbled feta cheese. Toss with yogurt dressing, and season with salt and pepper.

·         Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Weekend Get-A-Way!

We spent last weekend in the Prosser/Sunnyside/Yakima Valley of Washington with great friends. We planned this trip months ago & were counting down the days until we could all get away & have a 'friends' reunion.   Katie & Tom live in Spokane, so we thought we would meet each other halfway in Yakima. The plan: stay at a B&B, eat lots of good food, visit wineries & catch up with one another!
Fun fact: We have known Katie & Tom for 16 years!☺ Katie & I met through Clark County Indoor Play Park & Omid and Tom knew each other from work. Katie & Tom moved their family to Spokane 7 years ago.
This was the view in sunny Goldendale, Washington. We left the rain behind in Camas.
I texted Katie every now & then with an update to where we were in WA. She did the same.
We arrived at the B&B within ten minutes of each other!
First minute together! A perfect photo opportunity.☺

After getting settled in our rooms, we met in Katie & Tom's room for  cocktails. After that, we moved outside so Omid could make us dinner. He made Persian jujeh kebab, mast-o-khiar & rice with tahdig. The B&B had a large patio area, so we took advantage of that.

Tom & Omid discussing the finer points of grilling 'old school.' Then....Tom showing off his 'tiny fork!'
Fun fact: We are ALL WSU Coug Alum!☺ Go Cougs!!!

We invited other guests at the B&B to join us, but each of them declined. A group of three older women were so scared of us, they scurried through the patio area & dashed in the back door. They wouldn't even make eye contact. We were sad!

Happy birthday Lin!
Buttercream...just like you requested!
This was the bed in Lin & Ward's room. Check out that dip!

Shake that thang!
Wait....Katie? You stole my thunder!
We continued to have a lot of fun on the patio until 10:00 p.m., when we had to move it inside for 'quiet hours.'

Awwww! Katie & Tom:
You two are so cute!

Lin & Ward - you two are cute too!

Why is there no photo of Omid & I? Poor Omid had to go lie down.
So I took photos of my sweet friends.☺
Fun fact: This was the first time Omid & I had ever stayed at a B&B. I loved it! Nice digs & yummy farm breakfasts! 
The next morning, we met at 9 a.m. for breakfast. I made sure to smile & make 'eye contact' with the three older ladies from the night before.☺ Breakfast was coffee, banana bread, butter & fresh half & half from a local dairy, potato hash, kale & mushroom quiche, asparagus quiche, bacon & Greek yogurt with crystallized honey. Good stuff!

The plan was for Saturday was to visit several wineries. We picked a few on the map & actually visited five. The first winery, Omid & I dumped every single pour. The wine was so new, it tasted like vinegar to us. The second winery was run by former Cougs (GO COUGS!). Their wine was better than the first, but Omid & I still didn't want to purchase any. Next we visited another that had a good Riesling, but I have had better (stay with me gets better!).

Love these photo bombing pictures of Katie!

Gorgeous Prosser, WA scenery!

Finally, we visited a winery that Omid & Ward had visited before & made friends with the owners. Ground squirrels in the area eat the roots of the grape vines, ruining the crops. Omid & Ward helped take care of the 'varmint' problem. This was my favorite winery of the weekend! It's called Pontin del Roza.

I took this photo for 'planter' ideas!
I also loved the quote on the rock.☺

Pontin del Roza winery is the first winery that offered a dolcetto wine. I'd never had that before. It was good. But the wines that Omid & I really liked were their sangiovese, merlot & Riesling. Their Riesling tasted like sweet honey. I've never tasted a Riesling like that before. Absolutely delicious!
Finally, a 'couple shot!'
The tasting room at Pontin del Roza is absolutely beautiful! It looked like something out of Sunset magazine. I loved every single touch that Scott & Dustin added to the room. I could live there. Seriously!
Wine & a picnic lunch at Pontin del Roza winery.
Thanks for the lunch, Katie!☺

Katie, Lin, Scott & me behind the bar at Pontin del Roza.
We felt special!☺

Friends: Old & new at Pontin del Roza winery.
Just to let you know how much we loved Pontin del Roza winery: we spent almost two hours here! We felt completely at home. I loved talking about the finer points of 'Shahs of Sunset' with Scott & Dustin. They weren't aware that Omid is Persian, but soon found out. So much fun! ☺

Omid & Ward playing bocce ball at Pontin del Roza.
When we first drove up, I thought this was a Zen garden.☺

We finally said our 'goodbyes' & headed to one more tasting room. This last place was awful! We were sure the employees were drinking. Tom paid for our tasting fees (Thanks, Tom!!), then they thought our group hadn't paid & other strange things were said. There were arguments among guests & insults traded as well. I couldn't wait to leave that place!

We finally left that tasting room & headed home so Ward could grill us tenderloin & scallops for dinner. After cleaning up, we all met in the dining room of the B&B and played several serious game of poker (all while listening (& singing to John Denver's greatest hits!). But first...Lin passed out dental picks for our teeth. Thanks to Katie for capturing the photos!

Lin was the big winner of the evening! I cashed out with $1. So much for my 'winning streak' at Christmas.
After playing poker, we hit the hay & met again for breakfast the next morning. On Sunday, we had croissant French toast, fresh whipped cream with pineapples & strawberries, steel cut oatmeal (which Omid & I each ate a 'bite to be polite", but we're still not oatmeal fans!), fruit plate and hearty sausages. Lin loved the steel cut oats. She took a heaping scoop & drowned it about 8 oz. of half & half. Wow!
After breakfast, we packed up & said our 'goodbyes.' I really didn't want the weekend to end. I had the best time catching up. It had been a year since we'd seen Katie & seven years since we'd all seen Tom. We decided to make this a yearly event. I am already looking forward to May 2014!
Fun fact: On our way home, Omid took us to the Legends Casino in Yakima so Lin could continue her winning streak. She didn't want to play poker, but played the slots instead. Did she win? Yes! Upwards of $30! Good job, Lin!☺
Surprise to us: this casino was 'dry.' No alcohol allowed on the premises. But...smoking was allowed. I actually felt sick from all the cigarette smoke. Yuck! We walked in a 'blue haze' wherever we went.
I loved our weekend away! Special thanks to my Dad for coming down to take care of Matty & Remy. ♥

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Netflix This!!

Omid & I finally watched Silver Linings Playbook last night. It was very good! I thought it started out a little bit slow/hard to follow...(so don't multitask if you watch it), but it got much more interesting. It's sad/heartbreaking in a lot of scenes, but happy too! There were lots of scenes where we just laughed out loud.

Netflix this film!☺

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I'm a "Fan"ilow!!

I received my Mother's Day gift a few days early:
three tickets to Barry Manilow!

I am so piggly wiggly about this concert! I cannot wait! I am taking my two dear friends with me. June 7th can't get here fast enough!!☺

Thanks so much Omidjoon! This is the perfect
present!! Love you lots!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pinterest Fail

I love Pinterest, I really do! What's not to love? So many awesome ideas in one place!

But I do dislike Pinterest's new 'website verification' system. I have spent way too many hours trying to get my website verified so I could have my pins profiled. I uploaded the verification file to my root file on my hosting site...only to have Pinterest tell me it's not there. So I spent several hours yesterday learning about html, ftp & root files when I should have been outside enjoying the sunny weather. I thought the error was on my part. I contacted my hosting site and they verified, that yes indeed, it was there & I did everything correctly. I even enlisted the help of my super tech saavy hubs & Pinterest still said they couldn't find my blog.  So...I tried the alternate route & added a meta tag to my blog. 

Not only was it not verified, but Pinterest told me I tried to verify my website too many times and have been locked out & I can try again later. What?! Something that should have been so easy to do, has turned into something that is beyond frustrating.

Has anyone else had this problem?

Update! Yay! Pinterest finally verified my blog! ☺ If you want your blog verified by Pinterest, check out these step by step instructions. Be warned: it could take up to 48 hours! Mine did. :/

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Make This!!

Cinnamon Crisps!

I found this recipe via Healthy Recipes Twitter feed last night. I love when I have all the ingredients for a recipe and can make it right away.☺ This was really easy and my super-picky eater loved it!

Lightly grease a cookie sheet (I used coconut oil). Place won tons all over the sheet. Lightly spray the won tons with Pam cooking spray. Mix cinnamon & sugar together and sprinkle over the won ton wrappers. Bake in a 400* oven for several minutes (10 mins. in my oven) or until golden brown. Enjoy!