Tag Archives: family time

Sunday Roast

19 Sep

We were lucky enough recently to have all of our schedules align so that we could have our good friends over for dinner this past weekend. I wanted to make sure to make something delicious and really special for dinner.
I spent a better part of an afternoon figuring out what the perfect Sunday dinner would be for our guests. I settled on a recipe which I found on multiple blogs and every single one had nothing but rants and raves about how amazing Crock Pot Balsamic Pot Roast was. Now I am not one who typically uses my crock pot because I have this strange mistrust of it, like I have to watch it constantly to make sure that it’s not going to like burst into flames which I am constantly laughed at over. I know so many people who are in love with their slow cookers and use them all the time. I got mine 3 years ago and have only used it twice. Since I have been meaning to give it another try and have faith that it will not burn my house down if I leave the house while it’s on (I am someone who unplugs unnecessary things and turns everything switch off any time I am leaving the house) I thought this would be a great opportunity. I downloaded the recipe from My Chic Life With Rachel Hollis.

Balsamic Pot Roast

4-5 lb chuck roast
2 cups beef broth/stock
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cloves crushed garlic
zest of 1/2 orange

Place meat in slow cooker, combine all other ingredients in a medium bowl and pour over meat. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
*I omitted red potatoes like the recipes call for since all recipes also listed that they served theirs with mashed potatoes so I did as well.

While the pot roast was cooking away I had plenty of time to work on the other elements of my dinner: Roasted Carrots, Pioneer Woman’s Mashed Potatoes, and Rosemary Rolls.
The Pioneer Woman just knows her stuff- I have tried SO many of her recipes and not one has ever turned out less than perfection! Find her recipe here: Mashed Potatoes.

I peeled and cut up my carrots, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and placed them in a preheated 400 degree oven until tender- approximately 25 minutes.
I made rosemary rolls out of fresh pizza dough (Trader Joes is the best) cut into fourths, sprinkled rosemary and kneaded, then I spread olive oil and crushed garlic on the top and baked in my 400 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes.
The finished product was delicious and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. I’m working on my trust issues with my crock pot, but if it can produce a main dish like this- it must be doing something right!



Pumpkin Obsesssion

18 Sep

If you have been following me through my journey from summer to fall, you will have noticed that not unlike many people – once September hits – my life is full of pumpkins. Be it a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, pumpkin decor around my house, my friends searching Trader Joes for their oh-so-yummy pumpkin muffin mix, or beginning to make those holiday treats such as pies (my personal favorite). When preparing for entertaining some friends over the weekend I searched through my cookbooks, personal recipes and Pinterest to find the perfect delectable treat to finish off a cozy meal of pot roast, mashed potatoes and roasted carrots, one thing definitely jumped out at me: Pumpkin Dump Cake. Now that may sound like an odd name for a cake but it simply refers to the fact that you are pretty much dumping a bunch of ingredients in the baking dish. It couldn’t be easier!


My coworker, Jessica (a huge proponent of Pumpkin Dump Cake) was the first to introduce me to this cake and I couldn’t thank her enough. It’s kinda of like a pumpkin pie and a crumb cake. Totally amazing!

I accessed the recipe from The Country Cook.

It has few ingredients and is a synch to whip up. I served mine with homemade whipped cream which I made by adding 2 tablespoons to 1 very cold cup of cream in a bowl (I used a chilled metal bowl) and used by hand mixer to whip until I achieved soft stiff peaks. It took about 3-4 minutes.

Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 box spiced cake mix
1 cup butter melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a 13X9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, and cinnamon until combined. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle dry cake mix over the top of the pumpkin mixture (should float on top). Drizzle melted butter over top of cake mix.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, may be a little jiggly in the middle when done (not sloshy). Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

My whole house smelled amazing while it was baking away.
My friends loved it, the topping was crunchy, sweet, and buttery and the pumpkin was a perfect pie filling. I foresee this in my kitchen time and time again. And the best part? I had leftovers! ūüôā


Family Time

10 Sep

We recently took a little family vacay to Arizona for some rest and relaxation, unfortunately with the huge amount of driving we did it was very little rest and even less relaxation but I got quality time with my family and was able to see some beautiful desert sites. We stayed in Scottsdale and ventured up to Sedona and the Grand Canyon while we were there. Here are some shots from our trip:

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Adventure Days- Family Time On The Farm

20 Jun

My husband and I love taking our two year old daughter out to new places to learn about the world. We try to do it as often as possible, this time we got to go to a birthday party at a local farm. We all had a blast! Madeline got to experience new things, riding a pony, feeding farm animals, petting farm animals (sheep, bunny, pig), taking a hay ride, etc. It was a great idea for a birthday party since all the guests get to run around, play, and explore for a good part of the party which alleviates the hosts of having to keep everyone occupied the whole time. I also think that it’s a great idea for kids to see farms so that they are exposed to where their food comes from and how it grows.

We watched an animal show and Madeline learned all about different animals that they brought out and after petting the animals we talked about ‘what all the animals felt like” (texture) and what colors they were. This wasn’t our first time at the farm but since it’s been a while and there were less people there this time, I think it gave Maddie a chance to explore more. Here are some of the pictures from our adventure day at the farm:

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To The Sea

21 May

When we took Madeline to the beach she kept asking to see boats, fortunately for us there just happened to be ¬†a couple boats that passed by while we were there. This eventually lead to her asking to ride on the boats (as she asks to ride on airplanes when she sees them or ‘drive daddy’s car’ when he comes home). My first thought was – Oh geez we are going to step foot on a boat and she will totally freak out or try to run off the boat or have a complete meltdown when she cannot leave the boat upon her whim to do so. I also was thinking, what kind of boat can I take her on? I thought about what was nearby and since the ocean is only about 30 minutes away- that was a whole lot. It hit me, a harbor tour! I checked out the website for the Ventura Harbor and found out that it was an enclosed boat and it was only 40 minutes long. I thought that might be a little long for a two-year old to sit through but it was not terribly long.

We wanted to skip traffic and still be able to get things done on Sunday so we left our house at 9:15 am (even though we get up early every day it still seems unfair to have to do it on a weekend). There was no traffic what-so-ever so we got there very quickly and had some time to kill before the first tour at noon. We took a nice little walk around the harbor and Madeline was super excited to see all the boats and look around. Almost immediately she asked: “ride a boat?”, we told her we had to wait our turn and we would take a walk first. Randomly it happened to be the 75th anniversary of the Ventura Harbor Yacht Club and the yachts were all decked out with their flags and did a little parade as we noshed on some shrimp and chips and clam chowder from Andria’s before ourDSC04559 DSC04561 IMG_1663 boat ride.¬†IMG_1627DSC04510???????????????????????????????















We were pleasantly surprised that Madeline did not in fact freak out, but instead she was really excited and interested in all the things to see, the kayaks, paddle boarders, pelicans, other boats, etc. She only got scared once when we were taken out past the breaker and the waves were rolling up and down and we were bouncing around a little. But once the boat got turned around she was just fine.

We were so lucky to have such nice warm perfect weather and we didn’t even hit traffic on the way home. Another adventure day down, still thinking about what to do next with our little adventurer.
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Street Fair Treat

15 May

Our town was having a street fair over Mother’s Day weekend which in the past had been something I would avoid, the crowds, the traffic, the whole ordeal of it all. But this year is different, this year I have made a huge effort to not only do things that were outside my comfort zone but also to have what I call ‘family adventure days’ in which we spend time most weekends doing something new with Madeline (or if not new, at least something family and kid-centric) so this weekend when I saw that there was going to be a street fair only a couple blocks from our house I was¬†intrigued. The advertisement said there would be food and local vendors, “food?!” I thought to myself, “I like food”. It was decided. Since we already had a jam packed weekend I knew we needed to go early which was a good thing since it turned out to be almost 100 degrees which is not typical of Mother’s Day weekend in our area.

The street was lined with vendor tents and colorful merchandise, aromas of tasty treats like hot dogs and kettle corn. There were many community and local organizations promoting their businesses and religious or political interests, and upcoming events. We received many coupons and freebies to try out new things like gymnastics classes for our daughter, a pediatric dentist, beauty salons, etc. Madeline was quite excited to receive two balloons from a pre-school and after school program in town. I, of course was on the hunt for something tasty, I settled on one of my most favorite treats – kettle corn and I also ¬†had a sweet and tangy ‘homemade’ lemonade. I loved the sign shop that was selling handmade wooden signs and metal vintage signs, we purchased a “Ventura” sign for our daughter’s beach-themed bathroom, I also bought a (probably overpriced) soy candle that smelled amazing. Despite the heat we had a great time walking around, seeing all the vendors, running into people we knew, and sampling some treats. Here are some pictures from our family outing.
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Family Time: Zoo Day

10 May

Since Madeline was born we have had a lot going on, we have been in a couple weddings, had business trips, spent 3 months preparing to sell our house, then spent another 5 months selling said house, then had to move twice (once to a temporary apartment while our home was being built and our final move), and bought a new home. Things are finally slowing down for us and we are making a concerted effort to to have more ‘family adventure days’. These may not be an adventure to Dan or myself, but to our two year everything new is an adventure. ¬†Since we live in the LA area there is so much to do and we want to be sure to take advantage of the proximity of all the events and attractions in our area.

Madeline was very excited for our trip to the zoo and seeing all the animals! She has been talking about the ‘big tigers’ and ‘swinging monkeys’ all week. She rode a carousel for the very first time, which was a big step since she hates even being on swings. We also got to see the LA Zoo’s new addition: a baby giraffe named Sofie (pictured with her parents below). Here are some pictures from our adventure:

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