Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My hubby = rock star

So Josh made us a table. A HUGE table. We have this dog run kinda weird unused space outside our kitchen. Perfect place for a BBQ but too ugly for a table and chairs -- so Josh had the brilliant idea to make us a "prep" table of sorts. We will use it as additional counterspace when using the grill (which has yet to be purchased... don't worry dad, we're working on it...), and as a sun-bathing place for our herbs. So good job Josh!

He would want me to tell you that the top is made from Redwood. Apparently that's good because when Josh told me he had the "Isn't that impressive?" look on his face. It is a beautiful, solid table... it's 8 feet long, over 2 feet deep, and 3 feet high... and heavy as! (that's me going back to my NZ slang :)) Trust me - I had to help move it into place and it's a beast! Josh = rock star carpenter!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

me = ANGRY!

Just look. The pictures say a thousand words.... grrr!

Chipmunk? Squirrel? Fruit hungry bird?!? I'm SO angry! Our first red strawberry and there it is... chewed to bits. Stupid backyard stealer!! Any suggestions on how to keep these pests at bay?!??

Monday, April 27, 2009

Italiano, no?

So the parents are coming to town in like a month and I think I know where we want to take them one night... Il Campo di Bocce. One of my co-workers went here with out of town guests and had a spectacular time. Bocce ball courts (and lessons) under the stars, wine, Italian style appetizers and pizzettes, big open fireplace, and good company... sounds like a recipe for success.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cookie Shop

Saturday morning Josh had a boys morning... REI was hosting a sea kayaking event in Mountain View. You could go and try out any and all of their kayaks and then at the end they give you a 15% discount to buy one... So Josh and Brad went to try those suckers out... more on that later.
But guess what I did while he was gone...? I BAKED! I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks for peanut butter cookies. So what's so special about this recipe? It doesn't even have sugar in it! It's sweetened with maple syrup and has olive oil in it. What? Really simple recipe and REALLY good. I made 1/2 a batch which made a dozen big cookies... oh yeah. And I MAY HAVE added chocolate chips. I mean, hello - peanut butter...? Chocolate? Yes please.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Call me Betty..

So I feel really Laura Hall right now... Laura is a dear friend from Santa Barbara that is pretty much a Martha Stewart meets Jamie Oliver cross. That's Laura -She's incredible inside (and outside) the kitchen. Laura is one of those people that can just COOK.... or bake. Whatever. She'll whip together some cutesy 3 course dinner without breaking a sweat. And I'm not talking grilled chicken with broccoli and Nestle Tollhouse cookies for dessert... I'm talking gourmet stuff that will blow your mind. Most memorable - my first experience with bread pudding. Mmmm. She's always looking for new recipes, and uses ingredients for which I didn't think even had a purpose. She's really good at throwing together all her leftover veggies in a pan, saute-ing them up with some random spices and liquids, and wa-lah. A masterpiece. Well... this week I had a Laura Hall moment.

I get a little over zealous at Farmers Markets. I know I do. I think it drives Josh nuts. Because I come home and say "Look at this swiss chard I got! Isnt it beautiful?" and he looks at me like I'm crazy and says "How do you cook swiss chard? Have you ever even eaten swiss chard?" to which I reply... "No. I've never had it nor do I know how to cook it, but it's beautiful and really really good for you. So there." and then it ends up wilting in our fridge and I end up throwing it away. But not this week.

On Thursday I took a look in our fridge and we had: Cauliflower, yams, swiss chard, spinach, zucchinis, cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and celery. Okay. Overload. But I just started handing Josh veggies and said "Chop these." With no plan in mind. I then looked at my cheese selection. 2 tubs of parmesan, ricotta, mozzarella balls, goat cheese, feta, havarti, and cheddar. Man. Why so many freaking cheeses?? But then I thought of a good friend - Ina Garten -
and her turkey sausage lasagna calls for a ricotta, goat cheese, parmesan blend. Perfecto! So in one foul swoop, I got rid of some of our cheeses, most of our veggies, and we ended up having a DELICIOUS veggie lasagna! All we needed to buy were lasagna noodles because I happened to have a can of marinara sauce in my cupboard and a bag of shredded mozzerella in the fridge. From this thrown together meal we had enough for dinner, lunch the following day, and more than 1/2 of it frozen in the freezer.

Thank you Laura for the inspiration and thank you Ina for making such a damn good lasagna that I embedded the recipe to memory for times like these.

Dear friends - I realize I need to get the camera out more often and document such milestones in my life, but until then, enjoy Miss Laura's pretty face, the Ina-meister herself, and a picture of lasagna via google images. Sad, I know.

Friday, April 24, 2009


We were Greek tonight. Gyros. Vino. Firey Feta. We went to a local Greek restaurant but with a 40 minute wait and a chilly breeze, we made our way across the street to a cozy wine bar for some pre-meal vino. It's so fun being in this new city because every where we go I get this feeling that we're in a new land... it's somewhat like traveling in New Zealand. New restaurants and streets to explore in every city. I'm sure it will wear off, but for now, it's fantastico.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Fro Yo? Yes please! With this heat, we deserve it! I yelp-ed frozen yogurt in our area and found this little gem the next suburb over - The Willow Glen Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream Company.

I opted for the tart yogurt with organic strawberries and chocolate chips. Josh had a scumptious raspberry cheesecake fro yo with those darn chocolate chips and an organic berry mixture. Man. Mix a yummy treat like that and a walk through downtown Willow Glen with my baby... and I'll take the heat any day.

Talking about a HEAT WAVE...

Josh is melting. Our whipped honey that once was rock hard is now soft and sticky. I have pitted out multiple t-shirts. We have already bought a 2nd fan. My car+air conditioning=our happy place. IT IS HOT. California is going through a heat wave. Even sunny, forever 75 degree Santa Barbara was in the 90s. Our house... about 93. Sweet goodness... it's hot. BUT - by Saturday the high is supposed to be 62 with a chance of rain... what?? Silly California.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Photo recap...

Easter Steak Sandwich... YUM.

Bleu Burgers with veggies and sweet potatoe fries... DOUBLE YUM!

Our first fruit harvest. Meet Strawberry #1.
More to come now that we have our computer back...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So much to say...

I have so much to say and so many pictures to post, but with our personal computer out, I'm not able to do so - so I'll just give you a little taste of what's been happening in the daily life of the Dunlops.
  • Josh and I have ventured out a little more in our area, eaten a few more local restaurants, and expanded our driving range. Everything is still new but we're becoming more familiar and even know some street names!
  • Our Easter was very relaxing - we went to church at this fairly new church that our friend Mike Simpson (or Slap as some of you may know him as...) goes to. We had lunch with him, his grandparents, and daughter afterwards which was just lovely. Onto the car wash and BevMo for the last day of their 5 cent sale (hey - Easter is about celebrating!), and then work on our garden.
  • Easter dinner was a beautiful and simple Ina Garten recipe for steak sandwiches. So yummy! And Josh loved that I made him MEAT other than chicken or fish. That's a rarity here at chez Dunlop. Dessert = Ice cream sandwiches (we gave up ice cream for lent, so we really let loose!)
  • I have discovered the maple leaf cookies at Trader Joes and have fallen in love. I adore them. That's a total side note, but they are so scrumptious.
  • I will be participating in a 10K in less than 8 weeks now. I do not run. I am not a runner. But as of yesterday, I am in training... so I'll try to keep you updated.
  • We have our first strawberry fruit growing and our tomato plants are flowering!
  • I met a former San Jose Shark. Josh was jealous. He and his wife own a boutique downtown and he happened to mention he played hockey, I said I know a lot about hockey because my husband's Canadian and he turned out to be from Saskatchewan (province next to Josh's Manitoba - so they're both prairie boys) and came down here to play for the Sharks the past 6 years but a neck injury kicked him out last season. Josh = wants to go shopping now just so he can meet him.

I think that's it. There are pictures to document most of those items, but without a computer to doc them to - you all are SOL. We'll be up and running hopefully soon with pictures and everything... but until then, go get some maple leaf cookies and be patient.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Obituary Section

Rest in peace, green laptop... rest in peace...
STUPID DELL! So our computer has crashed... for the THIRD time in 10 months. You know when it just happend to crash? After stupid Vista did some updates. I hate Vista. The Dell man, (which I'm assuming was from India based on 1. his accent 2. him asking me what time it was here and what time zone I was in and 3. him asking me if I wanted to be a milllionaire!) had me run all these tests and found out our hard drive crashed. He then asked if I had a screwdriver in my house so I could take apart the back of the computer to remove said hard drive. This is ridiculous. They are sending a replacement and once we get it, I will immediately be sending it down to our IT company in Santa Barbara to remove Vista from the new hard drive to replace with XP. I'm tellin ya. I have three words for anyone who may be reading this out there... Get a Mac.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dad would be proud...

Josh and I did some budgeting tonight... we're such adults! (PS- the numbers in the picture were NOT the numbers we were looking at... $384,741? Not quite...) We're setting goals, making changes and this month we're going to collect all our receipts and make sure we're on track... so wish us luck!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


(Above - Farmer's Market Pics...)

After a great weekend up north on the East Bay with friends and fun, we made it home last night to complete this incredible weekend. We pretty tired from our adventurous Friday nights so we started unwinding with a marathon of Season 2 of FNL - Friday Night Lights - our new obsession... oh my word. It is so good... this, followed by Sunday sleep in, waffles and coffee a la Josh, Farmer's Market, and then gardening... we've had an incredible 48 hours! And now - we're off to find ANYTHING to do outside. It's 76 degrees and sunny. A PERFECT Sunday. Hope your weekend was just as magical!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dinner Bell...

Recipe for perfect dinner...
Salmon from Whole Foods (from adorable fish man with great recipe tips)
Lemon from neighbor's tree
Rosemary from our very own herb garden
Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas from Farmer's Market
Bake salmon, saute veggies with chili peppers, serve with vino a la recommendation from Jim Olsen and presto -- perfection!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My honey-do hubby...

Yesterday Josh had the day off from work so he turned into Mr. Productive... yet again. When I was at work Josh changed the sheets, did a couple loads of laundry, went grocery shopping, cleaned both the kitchen and bathroom in detail (what??), vacuumed our entire house (not that it's huge, but still!), straightened up the house... and the cherry on top? Fresh flowers. Now THAT'S a good man. Thanks baby!!