Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer Hometown Visit

Hello! It's so nice to blog again! I feel like I can breath a bit :::finally:::  I've had a busy (but amazing) Summer. This June I was able to go back to my hometown in California and see my brother and lovely sister in law and spend time with my in-laws  After a long weekend in Southern California I drove up to San Francisco for a conference and to receive a national award (YAY me!) and then got to spend a long weekend in Napa (for another post later).

July and August were both busy as I went to another conference in Michigan and a wedding in Ohio. It was fun to check out the Midwest. . . .all posts to come!

Anywho, please check out the pics and enjoy. It is always bittersweet going home. I loved seeing my family and old friends. I was so lucky to be able to see my dear friend and maid of honor while she was in CA (she lives in London).  I was also able to eat at my favorite Mexican Restaurant LA PALOMA (which is were Gareth and I first met).  And I had a great time doing lots of hiking and going wine tasting in Temecula.


A morning hiking trip through Marshall Canyon 

A beautiful wooded area of the trail

A pincushion Protea spotted in someone's garden while we hiked. I love Proteas and used them in my wedding boquets. 

Typical dry California trail. 

My first visit to Ponte winery in Temecula! 

Ootside the tasting room at Ponte Winery 

I loved the exposed beams in the tasting room!

Enjoying some wine with the in laws and our cousin Josh. 

I really miss Mexican food! I ate this entire taco and enchilada!

More adventures to follow soon! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Yellow Squash Lasagna

It's no secret that I love pasta, bread, and pretty much any carbs. I also love to cook- and I try and make some of my favorite recipes a little healthier. Below is a new recipe for my favorite lasagna (adapted from my mother in law's recipe). Enjoy! PS- this makes about 8 servings.

Meat layers-
1.5 lbs of ground turkey
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
15 ounces crushed tomatoes 
1tsp oregano 
1tsp basil
Salt and pepper to taste

"Pasta" layers-
5 yellow squashes 

Cream layers-
1 stick of butter
8 ounces heavy cream
2 cups whole milk 
4 tsp corn starch 
pepper to taste 

Start off by browning the onion and garlic in some olive oil. Add the meat and the other meat layer ingredients and let it simmer.

While the meat cooks, cut your squash and arrange it to form the base layer of the lasagna. 
It's now time to make the cream sauce. Melt the butter and add some pepper.  Wisk in the milk cream and corn starch on medium- high heat. Keep wisking until the cream sauce thickens. Turn down the heat and let it rest.

Now you can layer the yellow squash! 
Add a layer of cream sauce, then meat, and more squash.
Keep layering and finish off with a layer of sharp cheddar cheese. 
I know this is not the most traditional lasagna, but it's delicious! Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 375F (180C) and it's done!


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Spring Break in South Africa Continued

Hello! I hope you enjoyed some photos from our first week in Johannesburg. It was so great to see our friends and family and enjoy some fun activities around my husband's hometown.

During our second week in South Africa we drove six hours southeast to the Kwa Zulu Natal coast and stayed in Umhlanga Rocks (just north of Durban).  While in Durban we stayed with close family friends at the Breakers Resort and also spent a night in the Hillcrest area while visiting my husband's aunt and uncle.  Spending a week on the Indian Ocean was amazing- I didn't want to come home!

Hope you enjoy the photos!

Sunrise on our early drive down to the coast.

We caught the Sharks vs. Crusaders game 

Chilling on the beach!

Breakfast at our first hotel in Durban, The AHA Hotel 

We explored the nature preserve near the breakers resort.
We found a secluded beach.

We took a short trip to Hillcrest to visit more family. A gorgeous view from their home. 

Relaxing with family before dinner. 
We explored Kloof gorge.

Gareth's aunt and uncle took us to the Nelson Mandela capture site in the Midlands. 

Our lunch stop in the Midlands. 
We finished our day in the Midlands with a trip to Howick Falls
Enjoying the Falls.
You may not be able to believe this. . .but I have more pics! More to come next week. Our finals days in South Africa!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring Break in South Africa

Hello! I've been away far too long- since my most recent post (in November!) I have been up to so much. Here are a few highlights before you read all about my recent African adventure.

November: I turned 30 and had a amazing birthday trip at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
December: My husband's family visited and we spent the holidays together.
January/ February/March: I got to visit DC and Tallahassee for work multiple times.

Now onto our most recent adventure to South Africa...
We spent two weeks visiting family and friends in Johannesburg and Durban and took lots of amazing side trips to Pretoria, Hartbeespoort, and the Midlands. Here are some photos form our first week in South Africa.

Our first stop in downtown Johannesburg at the SAB Brewery for a tour and tasting

We were lucky to have such great weather 

We stopped for lunch at One Fox Street Market

We also had time to visit Gareth's grandmother and nanny

We drove to Hartbeespoort ant took a cable car to enjoy the view 

The ride up was a little scary! 

View from the top!

On Easter we visited the Union Buildings in the capitol, Pretoria 

We visited the Mandela and Gen.Hertzog monuments 
I will post more soon!