Monthly Archives: December 2011

Weekend Adventures: Pizza and Glasses!

This is my first installment of a new regular feature: Weekend Adventures! I try to always have at least one adventure each weekend. This doesn’t mean I’m always off on a road trip or exploring pirate ships or something… a weekend adventure could even mean staying home and baking. But to me, the ‘adventure’ part comes strictly from your attitude. If I look at two (and a half if you include Friday afternoon/night) days of potential with excitement and I’m open to what comes along, then it is an adventure! A few weeks ago was a jam-packed weekend full of fun- a concert Friday night; a road trip Saturday; brunch, shopping and then napping and baking on Sunday… so much adventure to be had! So I’m going to focus on Saturday.

David and I had this little day trip planned for over a month and it was pretty much centered on eating delicious pizza. The rest just fell into place.

After sleeping in and lazing around with kitties we headed down to Los Angeles (about an hour and 45 minutes drive) to hit up The Original Pizza Cookery for vegan pizza for me and non-vegan pizza for David. The Pizza Cookery has a full two page spread on their menu dedicated to vegan options! (they also have tons of gluten free options if you need that kind of thing) They automatically bring complimentary (and all you can eat!) garlic butter rolls to the table and you can request their vegan version if you like! And they’ll bring both versions if you ask.

I ordered a medium pizza just for me so I had tons of leftovers. I got the Southwestern pizza with Daiya mozzarella (they use Follow Your Heart vegan cheese unless you request the Daiya). The Southwestern comes with BBQ pizza sauce, vegan chicken, cilantro, and red onion. From past experience I had them leave the red onion off- just not my thing. So the pizza was as insane as I knew it would be. I ate a couple garlic rolls and a few slices of pizza and was set for the rest of the adventure-day!

delicious vegan pizza

Fully fed, David and I took the long way down to Venice Beach to wander, people watch, and oh, just maybe, get new glasses! We’re both a bit obsessed with glasses. David more so than me, probably because he needs glasses to see always! I only need them to see certain things… Earlier this year we discovered Good See Co., a wonderland of thousands and thousands of eyeglass and sunglass frames. And they can put your prescription in onsite in about 30 minutes. (and they are willing to negotiate on price- which is fun!)

We wandered the store and both found frames we were in love with. We negotiated a good deal and then left the good people at Good See Co. to work their magic while we wandered the boardwalk in Venice (that’s a lot of ‘goods’!). It was after dark by this time so we stuck close to the main drag, but it was so lovely out. After the sun went down the air got warmer than it had been that chilly afternoon. We saw tons of awesome doggies and interesting characters. After the allotted time, we headed back to pick up our glasses. They were perfect and we were so happy!

Happy! At the beach! With glasses!

Now we were ready for more pizza (since we had all those leftovers). We found a grocery store with a good selection of bottled sodas and then we feasted, once again, on pizza and garlic rolls. Only this time, we sat in the car and relaxed! It was so much fun to just kick back in the car with boxes of pizza on our laps. And awesome-er still, we had even MORE leftovers for Sunday!

Once we finished the car-feast, we look the long way (again) back to the freeway to head home to the kitties.

A nice daytrip with a good song playlist, a tank of gas, and pizza anticipation makes for an adventure to remember!

Do Stuff: Festive Christmas Mantel!

I love beautiful holiday decorations and for the first several years that David and I were married I decorated elaborately with a different theme each year. I had over 10 rubber totes full of Christmas décor. A few years ago I decided to go the minimalist route with my Christmas decorations. One reason I decided to cut back was because I was spending a lot of money every year on my ‘themes’. Secondly, my curious Cat Friends were destroying my trees! And finally, I decided that I wanted to focus most of my holiday energy on other things like baking and making gifts. So now I spend a few hours each season decorating my mantel (where kitties can’t reach) with some favorite things and usually something new and crafty each year. I have an adorable vintage aluminum Christmas tree that my BFF Joe found for me at a yard sale in New Jersey! I had always wanted a big aluminum tree but the vintage ones are hard to find and the vintage-inspired ones are not in my budget. One year I got a little package in the mail and when I opened it I couldn’t believe my eyes! There was a tiny vintage aluminum tree with its original packaging and instructions! Joe is the best!

Joey's tree!

My mom has a wonderful tradition of giving my sister and me a new special ornament each year. Several of these are hung throughout my house year around, but the others always make an appearance at Christmastime!

several of my special ornaments

And for my crafty fun thing this year I made these adorable (and easy) yarn wrapped trees! I discovered this beautiful gift guide from Ruche and got so inspired to do all kinds of fun holiday things, but the main idea that stuck with me was the wrapped trees. I found a rustic earth-toned yarn at Big Lots that was perfect for my Pumpkin Party banner and also for these trees. And I found the foam cones at the dollar store! I think I made all three trees (plus I have yarn leftover for gift wrapping) for about $4.00.

easy and fun crafty trees

I think little holiday vignettes are so cute and festive! Here’s an adorable one from Smile & Wave that I just fell in love with. What kind of holiday decorating do you like to do?

All my favorites!

funny little santa from before I was born!

I wish I had 1000 of these!

Cat Friends! Now Starrrring: Mai Tai!

My very fabulous friend and former office roomy, Chris, lives on a beautiful golf course in the San Diego area. She has the most gorgeous neighbor cat name Mai Tai! Such a fitting name for a kitty living in a paradise like this! Also fitting because Chris and I were known to imbibe in a mai tai or two in our days as co-workers. Here’s proof:

Mr Tiki Mai Tai Lounge- San Diego, CA

Let’s hear what Chris has to say about Mai Tai:

Mai Tai lives next door with her approximately 80-year-old cool owner. Mai Tai visits us frequently because of the many bird feeders I have in the yard. Mai Tai isn’t into the whole camera thing so I took these pics from the house.

gorgeous Mai Tai living in paradise

This next pic shows the bird feeder that she stalks – I mean visits – even tho she doesn’t have a chance of getting any birds.  Matter of fact, she’d be cheesed off to know that she actually saved a bird’s life last week.  She was sitting out there staring intently at the feeder – so intensely that it made us suspicious.  When we looked closer we realized a bird had gotten it’s little head stuck in one of the feeder’s seed opening!  Jim [Chris’ equally fabulous husband] carefully got the little guy out but I don’t think that’s the outcome MT was hoping for.

Mai Tai and the bird feeder nemesis

Thank you Chris for sharing your awesome neighbor Cat Friend with us! We all want to come visit you in paradise and hang out with Mai Tai, too!

Let’s Eat: A Holiday PieLuck!

My coworkers and I really love to eat! We find any excuse for a potluck. Recently once of my coworkers had the brilliant idea to have a Holiday PieLuck! A potluck dedicated to pies. Oh yes, this was truly a genius idea.

Awesomely, I received my copy of Vegan Pie in the Sky  just in time. I decided on the Pearberry pie and I’m so glad I did. It is truly divine. The Pearberry is a suggested variation on the book’s Appleberry pie. I made the Appleberry for Thanksgiving and it was also good, but I’m a huge pear fan, so I recommend the pear variation if you feel the same about them as I do. Plus they are perfectly in season right now!

pearberry & snowflakes

I made the olive oil crust (from the book) for the Appleberry and I don’t think I added enough water. I had a hard time rolling it out. I will definitely try this crust again, maybe for a savory pie. For the Pearberry pie, I made the more traditional Buttery Double Crust also from the book. This crust turned out fabulous the first time. I like that is has a bit of sugar in it too. Vegan Pie in the Sky is a great little book for vegans and non-vegans alike. It has lots of traditional recipes but also lots of creative new fangled recipes.

I took some inspiration from the photos in the book and made some cutouts on the crust. I used the smallest snowflake cookie cutter I had. It turned out cute, but more importantly, it tasted so, so good!

There were lots of other delicious pies at the PieLuck, including an apple-persimmon pie! That was such a nice combination and so seasonal! We also had some savory pies like a traditional veggie pot pie and a Turkish eggplant pie with philo crust! In total, I think there were eight or nine pies!


A PieLuck is a really fun and easy way to have a potluck- you should plan one!

Cat Friends! Now Starrrring: Pepper!

You may have noticed I’ve only been posting about Cat Friends lately. :) I have had lots going on, but I forget to take pictures sometimes. (too busy enjoying whatever it is I’m doing, I suppose…)

So, without further ado, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to one of my besties- Pepper!!

so pretty!

We adopted Pepper on my birthday a few years ago. He is about 4 now. He was Pet of the Week (celebrity!) from the local county animal shelter. The county shelter here in Kern County is considered a high-kill shelter, meaning many animals get put to sleep on a regular basis because there is just no room. It is so sad and just breaks my heart. So adopting from a local shelter is very important and I HIGHLY recommend this as your first option if you have room for more animal friends in your home!!

Pepper likes to read

Pepper is the biggest snuggler and a total purr-box! He sleeps with us every single night and alternates between spooning with his papa and his mama and then in the middle sometimes. He likes to ‘flomp’ which means he leans over and just falls on his side in a playful way. It is too cute! Pepper has a big “running pouch” (fat belly) that sways when he runs. He has the most beautiful markings! He is just a gorgeous, gorgeous boy. And he almost NEVER meows. He is the quietest cat I’ve ever known but makes up for it with loud purring. (he didn’t purr for a few weeks after we brought home Nathan and it made us very worried, but once he got used to his new baby brother he started purring up a storm again!!)

getting cozy!

Pepper (like most kitties) loves to squeeze himself into any box or bag even if he can’t really fit!

box kitty

bag kitty

Thank you for getting to know Pepper! And be sure to get to know the adoptable kitties in your area too!

i'm napping!