Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A day at the beach (update).

It's been busy around here lately! The family I nanny for just had another baby, so I have been working A LOT. Additionally, my brother-in-law and his fiance visited southern California for a few weeks; they came down to San Diego a few times and stayed with us, and we drove up to LA one weekend to see them. What this all adds up to is that I haven't had much time to get stuff done (or to sleep, but that's what coffee is for).

Last Saturday was the first day in a long time that I didn't have to do anything or go anywhere. I took one quick look at my to-do list, and said "screw it, let's go to the beach!" It was the right choice.

At the top of the trail with two cliffs between us and the beach

We were planning on going to Torey Pines so that we could hike and go to the beach, but the parking lot was full. We decided to make an adventure of it, and went in search of a new beach that we'd never been before. I looked at my GPS, said "let's try here," and we did. We had no idea what to expect, but it was fantastic. We still got to hike a little bit, and the beach was almost deserted. The trail wasn't too difficult, but enough to give the day a sense of adventure (it's not somewhere I'd try to take children, that's certain). 

Time for a refreshing swim after the trek
The waves were the perfect size for swimming, and the water wasn't too cold. The sand was soft and fine, and we had lots of space to ourselves. After a few hours of frolicking and relaxing we were ready to head back to civilization. We stopped at Cozymel's on the way home for a late lunch (and a few margaritas of course). I woke up Sunday feeling more refreshed than I have in a long time!

Climbing back up the steps that have been carved into the stone

I'm still going to be very busy for the foreseeable future, but at least my batteries are recharged. I have some awesome new recipes to share, such as Lemon Jalapeno Shrimp Skewers. I'll post as regularly as I can, but no promises ;) Thanks for understanding!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Coconut toffee bark (recipe).

The Get Your Chef On (GYCO) challenge is back for round two, and this time the secret ingredient is coconut! I was so excited to see that Julie and Jen chose coconut this go around, because it is one of my favorite sweet treats. I'm excited to collect some new wonderful coconut recipes from my fellow participants. You can also check out the lemon souffle I made for the last GYCO challenge.

I was scrolling through my Pinterest boards looking for inspiration for a new coconut recipe when I found Red Couch Recipes' recipe for Grandma Utahna Felix's English Toffee. I love toffee (maybe even more than coconut - blasphemy, I know), so I knew I had to give this a try. I substituted toasted coconut for the toasted pecans, and dark chocolate for the milk chocolate. I didn't change the toffee itself at all though.

My first attempt at this was less than successful. I poured the hot toffee over the coconut (as you would with the nuts), and the mixture did not set up at all. I think this was a combination of the sugar on the coconut causing the mixture to sugar and crystalize, and of me not cooking the mixture for long enough. I went back to the kitchen and started a second batch; this time I layered the chocolate in between the toffee and the coconut, and all was well again.

Making candy can be intimidating (at least it is to me), and this was my first time making toffee. I was surprised at how quick it was to make this (not counting the cooling time). It is a recipe that requires some finesse and a great deal of attention while the toffee is cooking, but it is not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Paper star garland (DIY).

Well, I finally got around to taking down the heart garland above my kitchen sink, and I needed something summery to replace it. I love this happy little star garland that took its place.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Easy risotto for two (recipe).

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of guest posting over at White Lights on Wednesdays. Just in case you missed it, here's my post in all it's glory. If you haven't checked out White Lights on Wednesdays yet, you definitely should. Julie is so creative and organized (and I imagine busy!). I can't wait to try her recipe for stuffed pork chops with dijon butter sauce; I can't get them out of my head since I saw them, and I know the hubby would love them too!

The inspiration for this recipe belongs to my mom and grandma. I love risotto, but rarely make it because of the intense amount of stirring that's required. Recently, my mom has gotten really into making risotto (I think she's been making it the last three times I talked to her on the phone!), and she's been making me crave that creamy goodness. My grandmother recently sent me a subscription to Cook's Country magazine (which is my favorite cooking magazine ever - it's put out by the same folks who make America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated). Imagine my excitement when I was flipping through and found a recipe for risotto to serve two that called for less than ten minutes of stirring!

Friday, July 6, 2012

June photo-a-day challenge (week four).

June is over, and so is the photo-a-day challenge. I had a lot of fun doing this, but I have to admit I fell pretty far behind at the end. In fact, there are a few pictures that I just never got around to doing. I might do another one of these challenges sometime soonish, but I definitely need at least a few months before I do it.

Of course, I'm still hooked on Instagram, and I'll still be sharing lots of pictures there. You can see my pics @mdoublemcrafts, and if you follow me, I will follow back :)

24. On your mind (I can't get enough of this beautiful fence)

25. Something cute

26. Where you shop

27. Bathroom

28. On the shelf

30. A friend

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Anniversary photo wall (home decor).

Last month, Matt and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary! We ate a few bites of (stale, freezer-burned) wedding cake, went out for a lovely dinner, and enjoyed each others company all day. The traditional gift for a one year anniversary is paper, so for part of Matt's gift I put together this photo wall commemorating our love.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June photo-a-day challenge (week three).

June is flying by! Here's week three of my pictures for the June photo-a-day Instagram challenge. I decided to say a little something about each individual picture this week. No real reason, except that I felt like it, and I can ;)

Don't forget, you can also follow along on Instagram @mdoublemcrafts.

15. Yellow
Snapped on the way home from the park by my Grandma's house. I had a lot of fun playing with various filters and photo apps with this photo.

16. Out and about
At the Denver airport, waiting to get on that plane and head back to home, sweet home.

17. In your bag
This is my "purse" when I fly. I'm prepared with books, computer, kindle, candy, and my dSLR!

18. Something we don't know about you

We eat pizza for dinner at least once a week when I don't feel like cooking. Lucky for me, the hubby would be happy to eat pizza every night!

19. Imperfect
Chipped paint on an old pipe. I love the contrast of the green with touches of red.

20. Fave photo you've ever taken
Well, "ever" is such a strong word, but this is my favorite photo that I've taken with my new phone that I haven't shared yet. I love the red tones of the dessert against the bright blue sky.

21. Where you slept
In my bed; the same place I sleep almost every night. The hubby is obviously still very soundly asleep (shhh... don't tell him I posted a pic of him sleeping).