When I got off the train this morning at Union Station I noticed two young girls who were giggling, talking excitedly, and quite honestly, looked a little lost. They kept looking around while they walked with the crowd of people. One girl turned around for a second and our eyes met. The slowed their pace and as I got up next to them, the same girl shyly asked me if I knew where a certain band was shooting their video and which train they should take. I was a little confused so I stopped to talk to them. They went on to explain that their favorite band, which I can’t remember the name of now, had tweeted that they were shooting a video in LA. I asked them exactly where the video shoot was being held at, but they said it hadn’t been announced. I told them that Los Angeles is HUGE, and they should wait in the waiting area of Union Station and keep checking their twitter feeds, until the location was announced, rather than hopping on a random Metro train. Their eyes opened wide and they agreed that it was a good idea. Giggling from excitement they went scuttling towards the Union Station seating area.
OMG, how cute was that!!! They were sooo excited about tracking down their favorite band that they hopped a morning train to downtown Los Angeles with a bunch of commuters hoping to wind up in the right place. It was so beautiful to see their innocence and pure happiness as they undertook this adventure. It made my day! I sure hope they eventually made it to the video shoot!!!
Today is Taco Tuesday. Ok, well usually I wind up making everything but tacos on Tuesdays, but today I decided to stick true to the theme. Not having a lot of time, chicken tacos was my answer to a dish that is super quick and somewhat healthy.
Note – The dish can be made healthier by substituting the hard Trader Joe taco shells for Ezekial sprouted grain tortillas, and making your own taco seasonings.
Quick Shredded Chicken Tacos
1 package organic chicken breast
1/4 diced onion
1 garlic clove minced
1 package of Trader Joes taco shells
1/2 package of Trader Joes taco seasoning
Cheese (your choice on kind of cheese)
1 organic tomato
* Boil chicken (Bring water to a boil in pot and add chicken)
* When cooked, take chicken out and use two forks to shred chicken into pieces
* Spray a little canola oil in a big pan
* Add onions and garlic to pan and cook for a few minutes
* Add shredded chicken to the pan
* Add half of the Trader Joes taco seasoning mix
* Cook the chicken, onions, garlic, and seasoning mix together for a few minutes
* Put chicken mixture in a serving bowl
* Grate cheese and put in a separate bowl
* Dice tomato and put in a separate bowl
* Chop lettuce and cilantro and place into separate bowls
* Cut avocado and place slices in a separate bowl
* Place taco shells on a separate plate
Now the fun begins…the taco bar is open! Let everyone assemble the tacos the way they want. Don’t forget to serve with salsa, hot sauce, or my favorite La Guacamaya hot sauce with lime.
Super quick and easy!
I love sweet potatoes. I mean, I really love sweet potatoes!!! So, when I find a recipe that incorporates my sweet orange bites of happiness, it is a must try. The best part is that I got two picky kids to not only try it, but one asked if I could put in in their hot thermos for lunch tomorrow, and the other asked if they could have some more for dinner tomorrow. SCORE! Healthy and kid approved is a win on all fronts. So here it is … the <revised> recipe that I found on eatliverun.com that piqued my interest. Of course I made some changes, so here is my version of this awesome recipe:
1/2 cup organic lentils
1 carrot peeled and diced
1/4 – 1/2 cup diced onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 bunch organic kale
2 bay leafs
1 organic sweet potato peeled and cut into cubes
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp canola oil
Sea salt (to taste)
Pinch of garam masala
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of cinnamon
* Heat the oil in a medium sized pot
* Once hot, add the onion, celery, carrot and sweet potato and cook until softened
* Add the garlic and kale and continue cooking until kale wilts
* Add the lentils, bay leaves and chicken stock
* Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until lentils are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid
* Season with salt, garam masala, turmeric, and cinnamon (to taste)
* Remove the bay leaves before serving
Ahhh, a small bowl of this and a glass of wine (remember red wine is good for you) is just perfect!
Music and Wine Time – 2010 Gamba Zinfandel Russian River with K’s Choice, The District Attorneys, and Van Morrison
You know that moment when the stars seem to align and everything in the universe seems to be perfect? Well, that is how I felt when I drank this wine while listening to When I Lay Beside You by K’s Choice, Confusion of Trust by The District Attorneys, and Caravan by Van Morrison.
I opened this bottle a few days ago and waited to blog about it. This is a young wine, and I definitely recommend aerating/decanting. The flavors just open up and it is a very different experience, than if you drink it quickly after pouring.
Sitting in my back patio on a perfect day (blue skies, no smog covering the mountains, and warm California rays), I indulged on my first pour. It boasts a deep, rich purple color and aromas of berries with a hint of spice. The taste, ahhhh, the taste. Your palate will dance from the luscious notes of blackberry, raspberry, plum, and a little chocolate. Spicy peppery notes round up the long finish. This is a full bodied wine with smooth, velvety tannins. Perfectly balanced after aeration/decanting for around an hour. I would definitely recommend this Zinfandel. Price point is between $35-$40. I purchased my bottle at 3rd Street Wine which is a wonderful place to enjoy and try different wines.
What could make this experience even more perfect? Well, music of course. I enjoyed this bottle over a few days, so I have a few different music choices including K’s Choice, The District Attorneys, and Van Morrison.
When I Lay Beside You by K’s Choice is absolutely beautiful. The lyrics brings tears to my eyes. Good tears though. Such a positive, wonderful tune. FYI – K’s Choice will be playing in Los Angeles in May at Hotel Cafe. What a treat!
Confusion of Trust by The District Attorneys is a great song. It is the song that you want to pull out and hold up that cigarette lighter over your head (No, I don’t smoke cigarettes, but you get the idea), while singing along. Every single song off their cd is fantastic!!! I was lucky enough to see them at sxsw and they put on an awesome show!
Caravan by Van Morrison from The Last Waltz. His voice is soooo smooth, and this song is soooo good. How can you get a better song to go with that Zin?
Trying to eat healthy can be a challenge, but I found a wonderful recipe for Vegetable Fried Rice from 100 Days of Real Food that I adapted to make a delicious vegetable stir fry. I must say that the site is an excellent resource if you are looking for meal ideas. The best part of this recipe is that it is not only super quick to make, but you can get super picky kids to eat vegetables that they normally would refuse to touch…like kale! Mmm, here’s my version of their recipe:
– 1 cup of quinoa
– canola oil
– 1/2 of an onion (diced)
– 1 tsp ginger (minced)
– 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
– 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
– Fresh broccoli, kale, green beans, carrots, or any other vegetable you want to add (chopped up)
– 4 egg whites
1) Rinse and drain the quinoa
2) Boil 1 cup of quinoa with two cups of water. Once it boils, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for around 10-15 minutes. Set aside when done.
3) On high heat, add a small bit of canola oil to pan
4) Add onions and ginger, and cook for 2-3 minutes
5) Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds
6) Add frozen veges (still frozen)
7) Add fresh chopped veges
8) Stir everything together and cook until veges start to look slightly cooked
9) Push veges to one side of pan, and add egg whites to empty side of pan
10) Cook for a few minutes and then stir eggs into the vegetable mixture
11) Add prepared quinoa (sometimes I add less quinoa, and have some leftover) to the mixture
12) Stir everything together
Timing is everything, since you don’t want to overcook your fresh veges. However, when you are done. Turn off the heat and you are ready to serve. I like to recommend letting people season it how they want, which is why I don’t add salt, pepper, soy sauce, etc. to the mixture during the cooking process. I actually enjoy it with only a dash of soy sauce which I add after it is served. Mmmm!
Initally, I was a little leery about trying this wine. After the mediocre tasting experience with “The Police” and the “Grateful Dead” wines, this was not high on my list to try. However, I tried to keep my mind open and popped open the bottle. Unlike the previous two wines which were blends, this wine is a Merlot. A lot of cherry and berries on the nose. Surprisingly edgy on the attack which quickly evolves into black cherries and vanilla. Overall, this is an accessible wine that I think most can enjoy. Is this the best Merlot for the $15 price point? Of course not, but you aren’t really buying it just for the wine, right?
So the music I would pair with this? Since this is a newer wine, it would have to be a newer Stones song, so I’m going with Doom and Gloom. Ah, such a catchy song! So pour a glass and enjoy. Cheers!
Have you ever had one of those days that everything seems to be going wrong from the moment that you wake up? Yesterday started off like that. I was running extremely late and was literally running around the house like a crazy person trying to remember everything that I needed to take with me to work. Being late to the train station wasn’t an option, since the Metrolink waits for no one. Did I catch every freaking red light as I drove through town? Well, it sure seemed like it. Luckily I made the train, but my stress level was pretty high.
By the time I got to the office I was pretty frazzled. My mind was already weighed down from a few other things that have been going on, so my mind decided to go on autopilot. Sticking to my morning ritual, I went to make instant oatmeal and without even thinking, I poured cold water into my cup, instead of hot water. I just stood there, looking into the cup of wasted oatmeal, and realized that I had completely lost it.
A little later that morning I rushed off to a meeting, and on the way back as I was walking through the lobby, I heard someone call my name. I turned around and was staring face to face with an acquaintance from work. This is someone that I do not work with directly, but I see them all the time in the elevator. We always say hello and goodbye when we see each other, but that is pretty much the extent of our interactions all these years. And that is when it happened…my whole day turned around.
He thanked me.
Huh, thanked me for what? He said he was having a pretty bad day a little while ago and was feeling down, when he ran into me waiting for an elevator. He said that I had a huge grin on my face and I barked a big “Hi, How are you doing?” to him, and we talked until my elevator came, like we always do. That day it made a difference though. He said that I looked so happy that day, that he felt like my happiness spread to him and it brightened his day. He had been waiting to see me again to thank me.
My eyes started tearing up right there in front of all the people in the lobby walking by. I was sincerely touched and thanked him for sharing that with me. The amazing thing is that seeing how happy he was as he recounted the experience, totally changed my day. All of a sudden all those things that were weighing me down and stressing me out didn’t seem so bad. His happy and positive energy changed my day, when I needed it most. Thank you.
It really is important to keep in mind how we all touch each other, and how even the smallest gestures can make a huge impact on someone.
Oh Fitbit, where have you been all my life?? Yes, we are now joined at the hip (literally – I have it clipped on me) and I can’t imagine how I ever lived without you. No seriously, I’ve owned my Fitbit for around a week and absolutely love it! Wow, this little gadget does a great job of reminding you how sedentary life really is on a typical day, which motivates you to MOVE. You start finding so many different ways to log those extra steps. For example, I commute to downtown LA by train and I now park around a block away from the train station parking lot, so I can get some steps in before and after my commute into Los Angeles.
The Fitbit site helps track meals and other activities too, so you can get a more complete view of how active you are, calories burned, distance, etc. This is also a huge motivator! When I binged out on the Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese Locos Taco Supreme (yeah, I ate four of those darn tacos, a tostada, and a burrito in one sitting) from Taco Bell the other night, you better believe that I did damage control by stepping up my efforts with a 7 mile walk the next morning. Exhausting, but well worth it. (Yeah, I know that was super unhealthy, but life is all about balance.)
Like everything, Fitbit is tied into a social media world of its own. Again, very motivating to hear how other people are hitting or striving to hit their goals. You find yourself wanting to pat that person on the back who walked 25,000 steps today, and also give a reassuring “hang in there” to the person who barely had time to walk 2,000 steps.
In my quest to stay active, reduce stress, and eat better (don’t bring up the Taco Bell incident), this definitely has helped in the area of building up more cardio. If I can do this for 30 days (that’s how long it takes to create a habit, right?), then hopefully strength training will be added into the mix. However, right now baby steps…with my Fitbit.
There was a time when the only wine that I would drink was Riesling. As I hang my head low in shame, I have to admit that through the years I had not only turned away from Rieslings, but just sweeter wines all together. As a result, I have made an effort recently to break away from my habit of buying and ordering dry reds, and try to go back to where it all started.
Today was an awesome day for a glass of Riesling. What a beautiful day! The sun was bright and it looked like a typical sunny spring day with clear blue skies and a light breeze.
In the nose are sweet floral tones, heavy peach, and almost a slight citrus aroma. Tasting this wine was truly enjoyable. Delightful vivid flavors of peach and honey on the palate, with minerals and citrus notes on the short finish. This really is a wonderful playful wine to enjoy on a nice sunny day.
What song would I pair with this? I’m going with Unstoppable by Foxy Shazam. Playful song and video. Love it! This song really reminds me of Queen, and is probably one of the reasons why I love it so much. Enjoy!
Ah, I’m starting to see more or more tweets about Record Store Day coming up on 04/20. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do this year, but it brought back great memories of last year. Wow – what an experience!!!! I had waited many years to see one of my favorite bands World Party. I couldn’t believe my luck when I heard that they were going to play at Fingerprints in Long Beach. The performance was absolutely AMAZING!
Secretly I was hoping that they would play Sweet Soul Dream, which has been one of my favorites for many years. Did they play it???? Yes, yes, yes, they did play it! I was so moved by the fact that I was actually listening and watching one of my favorite songs by a band that I had waited so long to see. Another highlight was hearing a new song called Everybody’s Falling in Love. I fell in love with the song hearing it for the first time! I also fell in love with the awesome video!
So without further ado, I have to post a few of their videos: Everybody’s Falling in Love; Sweet Soul Dream filmed that evening at Fingerprints last year; and another favorite, the video from All I Gave.
Being in the mood for a new bottle of wine, I dropped in at Third Street Wine. Once I got there, I decided to do their weekly wine tasting and select my favorite as my new bottle to purchase. The list included the following wines: 2011 Bourgogne Chardonnay, Domaine Bernard Moreau, France; 2010 Gewurtztraminer, South Coast Vineyard, Temecula; 2009 Pinot Noir, Fort Ross, Symposium; 2009 Merlot, Twin Coyotes, Paso Robles; and a 2011 Barbera, Jeff Runquist.
Before the tasting, I expected that I would end up buying the Barbera, which is one of my favorite go-to wines. However, the beauty of a tasting is reflected when you find yourself selecting something completely different from what you first expected. I won’t get into my tasting notes except for my final choice. My favorite turned out to be the Pinot Noir.
The color was a dark red with a brownish red on the edges. This medium bodied wine actually had a pretty intense aroma and taste. I detected plums, berries, and a smoky scent. The tasting was wonderful. Initially, I was struck by the intense flavors of sweet plums, which later developed into and oaky tones at this wine’s finish. Beautifully well balanced. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine. As a result, this is the wine that came home with me.
On a different note, I wanted to give a shout out to Third Street Wine. They are a charming little wine shop and you must absolutely check them out if you are ever in their neck of the woods.
Come on, who doesn’t love The Police? I admit it…I just had to try this wine because of the clever marketing and the inexpensive price. It was a gamble worth taking. So did the wine live up to the awesome music by The Police? Uhhh no. Synchronicity is a red blend. Fruit forward on the nose – a lot of berries and maybe even honey. Before tasting it, I sensed it might be a little out of balance, since there appeared to be a slightly overpowering alcoholic scent. I tried it right out of the bottle and tasted raspberry, cherry, and blackberries. Unfortunately, it was out of balance with the alcohol being dominant. I let it breathe for around two hours to see if it would make a difference and tried again. It was better, but still out of balance for my tastes. I’m curious to see if it will taste better tomorrow. So, is it drinkable? Yes, but honestly I would recommend just buying it for the cool bottle and not opening it.
What would I pair with this wine? Well, The Police of course! But to make up for the mediocre wine, I picked a song from an earlier Police album. I had to go with the upbeat music of So Lonely, which is sooo good it made me forget about the wine.
In my ongoing quest to stay fit, I broke down and bought a Fitbit Zip. I do quite a bit of walking, but I’m curious to see how close I actually get to the recommended 10,000 steps per day. The reviews on the Fitbit were good and apparently I can sync it to my droid. Should get it delivered by tomorrow and I cannot wait to check it out!
To help stay motivated on increasing my steps, I joined a wonderful FB group called Steps to Good Health. http://www.facebook.com/groups/STGH1/ (You need to be logged into FB to see page. They offer challenges to make you more accountable, not only with exercise, but any other fitness goals you may have. I’m excited about taking the challenge!
Today’s challenge: 1) Drink 4 glasses of water (baby steps up to six glasses a day); 2) Eat 5 servings of fruit or veges; and 3) Increase steps (I don’t have my Fitbit yet so can’t give an actual step count, but I’m just going to try to change up my walking pattern so I have more steps for today). I’m ready to face the today’s challenge!
UPDATE: Hit my goals! Even better, I came home and found my Fitbit waiting for me. Woo hoo, I’m ready to start counting steps!
After a Sunday filled with Easter festivities, I couldn’t wait to press the start button on my dishwasher, kick off my shoes, and finally relax with a glass of wine. I love red wine, but tonight I was in the mood for something lighter and more playful. The Vouvray seemed like a perfect choice. Armed with a glass of Vouvray and a small plate of cheese, I made my way to the music room, put on some tunes, and breathed a sigh of pure content while reflecting on another wonderful Easter.
I’ve had the Vouvray once before so I was curious to see if I would like it again the second time around. It has a bright beautiful pale gold color. I was picking up pears and apples aromas, and subsequently tasted apple, pear, and a slight grassy flavor. This medium bodied wine is on the dryer side of the spectrum. I found it well balanced and quite refreshing. For the price point of $19.99, it’s an easy to drink, playful wine.
To go with the playful theme, I had to go with Ra Ra Riot’s Beta Love. Gosh, when I hear this song I just want to dance. Ok yeah, maybe I do actually dance when I listen to this song. (But not like the people in the video)
I’ve come to the point in my life where I realize that I’m never going to be one of those people who will take off the skin before they eat chicken, turn down the chocolate ganache cake, or pass by an In-N-Out Burger without breaking down and winding up scarfing down a double double, animal fries, and chocolate shake. With that said, my mission now is moderation. I’ve been trying to make an effort to eat organic and less processed food when I can. Am I not going to try the Taco Bell Cool Ranch taco? Heck yeah, I am! BUT, I won’t feel guilty about it, since I know that overall I’ve made steps to eat healthier.
Today is Easter Sunday and today’s challenge is to cook something relatively healthy this time around, that everyone can enjoy. Let’s see how this goes. Since it is almost time for breakfast, I’m going to start with homemade whole wheat blueberry mango muffins. Will give a report on the final outcome along with recipes, if everything turns out edible.
As for the whole wheat muffins, they came out ok. I made several different types ranging from blueberry, strawberry, carrot, walnut, cranberries, dark chocolate, and blackberries. I definitely need to tweak the batter next time though. I think that maybe adding some applesauce in lieu of some of the oil would not only make it healthier, but also a little sweeter. I’m not going to post the recipe until I can get it just right.
The 2010 Elk Cove Pinot Noir Willamette Valley was one of my mystery buys. I was ordering wine and decided to blindly pick something. On the nose I detected raspberries and slightly rose scent. The taste? Well, let me start by saying that the first taste was a very different experience from other Pinots that I have tried. In this light to medium bodied wine, I picked up heavy raspberry and cherry flavors…very heavy on the raspberry. Also, I noted that it wasn’t very tannic. As a result, I felt that the wine was unbalanced. Not a lot of depth in this wine. Short finish. This is a simple, accessible wine. It’s not a bad wine, but you can find a lot better Pinots with a $25 price point. I would probably not buy this wine again, but would be interested in trying another Willamette Valley Pinot just to compare.
What music did I pair this wine with? Well, to totally make up for my slight disappointment on the wine, I paired it with an awesome band that I have loved for many years…The Aquabats. Don’t laugh, really, you might have immediately thought of those rash guards, kid music, or possibly even Yo Gabba Gabba and then rolled your eyes, but take off your anti-negativity helmet and appreciate this band. Through all of these years, they have been putting out super rad music ranging through several different genres. Yes, the they wear costumes, have silly lyrics, and fight super heroes, but aren’t you just a little jealous? I’ve loved them for years, and will always be a Aquacadet.
Ahhh, finally it’s time to relax with two of my passions: music and wine. I’ve been hooked on Zinfandels lately, so I poured a glass of one of my favorites, which is a 2009 Trinitas Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel Mendocino. I first encountered this little gem at a wine tasting at Third Street Wine, which is a charming little wine store. Previously I had not been a big Zin fan, but this was one of the wines that swayed me. It has a beautiful ruby color and the nose is of berries…blackberries, raspberries, mmm. The taste, ahhh the taste, first I get the fruit which then lingers into a heavier chocolate earthiness. Perfectly balanced wine which makes for a very enjoyable experience. One thing about this wine that I noticed is that it is just as enjoyable the next day. Super yummy! So to complement my wine tasting experience, what am I listening to? So much to choose from, but this time it is one of my favorite local bands called The Fling. Their music has a sort of retro feel to it, and is very addictive. Seen several of their shows and the music is just as intoxicating live. I linked one of my favorite songs by them, so enjoy. Cheers!
I love music, period. From learning acoustic guitar in the fourth grade, classical piano in college, and (still learning) electric bass, I just love it! Along with that, I have a sincere appreciation for anyone who can create music. As a result, I’m always listening to music, and I still try to see shows when I have the time. With that said, I finally got to experience something that every music lover should experience at least once in their life, which is sxsw in Austin. What a blast!
It literally is non-stop shows. The hardest part was trying to decide which bands to see, on which day, at what time. Two bands that were on my must see list were K’s Choice (who wrote the song Favorite Adventure, which this blog is named after) and another band called The District Attorneys. Did I get to see them? Heck yeah!
K’s Choice played one show, so I made sure to get to The Old School Bar and Grill early so that I could get near the stage. They played an acoustic set and it was absolutely wonderful. Sarah Bettens has the most beautiful voice, and when combined with vocals from her brother Gert Bettens, they sing harmonies that give you the chills. I was enthralled the entire time.
The District Attorneys
Another band that couldn’t wait to see was The District Attorneys. I loved their music the first time that I heard their cd, and had been hoping that they would tour LA. Since they never made it out west, I was lucky enough to see them at sxsw. I caught around four of their shows throughout the week, and each one was stellar! The tunes are so catchy, you find yourself humming the songs all day. Great band!
Two other bands that I want to mention are Bobby Jealousy and PAWS. I was lucky enough to catch two Bobby Jealousy shows, which was quite a treat. Again, I loved their cd when I first heard it, but not only are the songs awesome, but watching them is what really sets them apart. They draw you into their performance and you find yourself dancing throughout the entire set. Unlike the other bands, PAWS was a band that I had never heard prior to going to their show. However, once they started playing, the songs just grabbed me. I saw them a second time that week and the experience was the same…amazing! I liked the music so much that since I’ve been back, I’ve been playing their cd nonstop, and have been working on one of their songs on bass.
On a different note, another thing that made sxsw so wonderful was being back in Texas. After living in Plano (near Dallas) for a few years, I missed Texas. It was nice finally getting some decent bbq!!!!! Mmmmmm!!!!
Anyway, it was an unforgettable week, and I look forward to going to sxsw next year!