Tag Archives: holidays

Happy Valentine’s Day!


I used to think that Valentine’s Day was a silly holiday, but last year, I decided to embrace it. Is it so terrible to have an excuse to go to a nice dinner and get flowers?

Paco and I celebrated last night with dinner at The Tasting Kitchen, and tonight we’ll continue by going to see The Safe House (exactly my type of movie!). What’s not to like about Valentine’s Day?


Steak dinner with sauteed mushrooms


For Thanksgiving, I made a sautéed medley of wild mushrooms, and it was the surprise hit of the side dishes. I used Ina Garten’s recipe, and a mix of crimini, shiitake, portobello, and oyster mushrooms. (This picture is from last night, not Thanksgiving.)

Last night I made modified version with only crimini and oyster mushrooms, to go with a steak dinner. You could also add a little bit of cream at the end and turn it into a mushroom sauce for steak.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Brandy and Chives
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

1 lb mushrooms, preferably a mixture
1 1/2 T butter
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 shallot
kosher salt
3 cloves of garlic
2 shots of brandy
1/4 c chives

Clean the mushrooms by brushing them off with a damp paper towel. Cut them into thick slices, or quarter round mushrooms, like crimini or white button.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil, then add the shallot. Saute until the shallot is soft.

Add the mushrooms, and saute until they have cooked down a little bit (8-10 minutes).

Add the garlic, salt, and pepper (to taste) and stir to combine. Allow to cook for a couple more minutes, then pour in the brandy. Once the brandy has cooked off, turn off the heat and garnish with chives.

(Optional) After dinner, take nap.

New Year’s Day at the Huntington Dog Beach


Happy New Year!

Yesterday was a beautiful day in L.A., so after sleeping in, Paco and I took the dogs to the Huntington Dog Beach. Although we’ve been to quite a few dog-friendly beaches, we were not mentally prepared for the volume of people and dogs that would be there. (Foolish, I know, considering it was a Sunday, a holiday, and a beautiful day in January.)  We brought a blanket, food, and books, thinking that we could sit and relax, but it turned out to be more of a walk-around-with-your-dog beach, at least when it’s crowded.  This is a relatively uncrowded portion of the beach.  Look how many dogs there are!

The dogs had a great time, and it was definitely worth the 45-minute drive.  Lando loves to sniff and explore.

Rascal didn’t seem to get it at first, but by the end he was checking things out.

Afterwards, since we were already in Orange County, we ventured to Westminster for Vietnamese food, which was as Vietnamese as promised.  Two excellent firsts, what a great way to kick off 2012!

Flushing out toxins after massage


I am a huge fan of getting massages, and I’ve noticed that afterwards, the massage therapist usually encourages you to drink water or tea, to help eliminate the toxins that have been released into the body during the massage. While I have no idea if this is based on any sort of scientific fact, I love this idea. I have never really bought into the idea of detox diets, juice cleanses, etc., but if lying back and getting a massage contributes to the same idea, then sign me up!

Paco gave me a gift certificate to my favorite Thai massage place for Christmas, and I used it tonight.  I also drank a ton of water.  I am going to consider myself detoxified, despite all of the toxins in the wine I’ve been consuming while catching up on Teen Mom 2 tonight. We can’t live without a few toxins, right?

Post-holiday recovery


Whew! I’m back from our Christmas trip to Paso Robles, CA! Rascal and I did NOT enjoy the four-hour drive. Although the conditions were optimal (no traffic, 65 degrees, and a view of the Pacific Ocean for large portions of it), that is actually only the second time I have made such a long drive by myself. I don’t mind long road trips or driving, but driving by myself is such a snore.

Since I had driven through lunch, I stopped at the Japanese market for some chirashi, which sounded like the antidote to all of the yummy, sweet, rich holiday food I’ve been eating all weekend. I fed Rascal, too, but he is too tired to even get off the couch! I’m going to let him rest while I head to the gym for some end-of-holiday-weekend yoga to mentally prepare for the week. I’m glad it’s a three-day work week!