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Happy June, summer belles and beaus! After a week without peanut butter, I remedied what was missing in my life with cookie dough baked oatmeal with chia seeds. This oatmeal bake tasted like a warm oatmeal chocolate chip cookie . . . only healthier!

Mmmm, delicious, too! Velvet Husband isn’t a chocolate fan (unfathomable to me, but I still love him!), so I whipped up an oatmeal mix more up his alley with raspberries, banana, walnuts, and a little sugar.

Clearly, he was not a fan. ;-)

Whipped Banana Raspberry Walnut Oats

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Old-Fashioned Oats (I prefer Gluten Free oats for the consistency)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 banana, sliced into chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp turbinado sugar (optional! I normally don’t sugar up my oats, but this was for a sugar-loving husband)

Toppings

  • chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp coconut flakes (oops, forgot those!)
  • Blueberries and banana slices to make it a patriotic brekkie!

Directions

Bring water to boil in a deep saucepan. When water reaches a rolling boil, add oats and stir, gradually lowering heat while oats cook. Add banana slices and frozen  raspberries and stir in with oats. Continue whipping bananas and raspberries as oats cook at a low setting. Several minutes later, add turbinado sugar and walnuts. When oats are nearly cooked, add pure vanilla extract and stir until well-incorporated. Serve in bowl and add toppings of your choice. (I wish I had blueberries on hand for a red, white, and blue breakfast of patriots!) Note to milk-lovers: I prefer my oats sans milk, but feel free to add milk of your choice to your oats when they are nearly cooked, a la KERF whipped banana oats.

Velvet Husband was craving P.F. Chang’s for dinner, so to P.F. Chang’s we went! I don’t like fortune cookies and rarely eat them, but I always enjoy the fortune. Even though my career trajectory doesn’t involve real estate, this fortune was rather salient given recent events . . .

Because a few hours later, our applications were accepted for the townhouse! {Insert excitement spasms here!} We still have to sign the lease, but the process is moving along. I feel the need to be cautious about safety over the interwebs, so I’m refraining from posting pictures for now. Just take it from me, it’s adorablecutewonderulawesomeiloveit! Yeah, like that.

What foods do you love that your spouse/significant other/BFF doesn’t like? 

For me, it’s chocolate. Velvet Hubby will sometimes eat chocolate if its mixed into a dish just so, but more often than not, he’s a pie and cobbler kind of guy. As you all know, I can’t imagine a world without cacao powder. ;-)

After packing up and grabbing a granola bar at the hotel, Velvet Husband and I headed to a church recommended by our dear friends from Russia who used to live in Pasadena. We enjoyed the beautiful sermon and setting. As grand as this church is, I can tell that they foster service and fellowship in the community. They made it a point to recognize and support our service men and women who protect our freedom. They have a church-affiliated program in which members write letters to service men and women suffering from mental illness to express love and encouragement.

With little time to spare between church and home-hunting appointments, we embraced our veggie cravings and returned to Green Earth Vegan Cuisine in Old Town. After yesterday’s heavy brunch at Marston’s, we wanted a veggie-full meal. Can we say creatures of habit?

This time, I knew better than to share the amazing quesadillas with Hungry Hubby. Filled with grilled eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, and vegan cheese, I can understand why Velvet Husband got a bit territorial.

This way I don’t have to worry about mysterious food disappearances. ;-) For entrees, Hubby ordered a BBQ tofu burger with sweet potato fries, and I lurved my glowing green spinach asparagus soup. The ubiquitous green monster smoothies have nothing on this chartreuse beauty.

For optimal soup enjoyment, insert stolen sweet potato fry, eat, and repeat. Vegan meal success, except that they were out of the carrot cake again. This carrot-loving bunny was not happy. It’s okay, I’ll be back.

After comparing a few homes to the current frontrunner and deciding frontrunner still holds the lead, we found Sugar Fix, a bakery in Old Town. Wouldn’t you know that carrot cake isn’t on their Sunday menu? Oh, don’t worry; I found a way to make the most of this dire carrot-cakeless situation . . .

Yes, everything turned out beautifully. Velvet Husband loved his snowy coconut cupcake, and my red velvet cupcake was lovely and moist. Better than my Dot’s experience, but it still doesn’t compare to the Southern Belle cupcake at Sugar Mama’s in Austin, my favorite cupcake shop eva.

After our cupcakes and a soy chai tea latte from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, we caught our short flight back to San Francisco. It was nice to sleep in our own bed after a week of hotels in Costa Mesa and Pasadena. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the townhouse; thank you so much for your support!

Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day! I have a new oatmeal recipe for you tomorrow, sweet devoaties!

Edited to add: I’m moving to a self-hosted site today, so if you have trouble accessing any content, that’s probably why. Thank you for your patience as my blog experiences growing pains. :-)

Tell me, what did you do over the Memorial Day weekend?

Hope you’re enjoying a beautiful holiday weekend with family and friends! After relaxing around the hotel and scheduling home-hunting appointments, Hubby and I walked to Marston’s Restaurant for Saturday brunch. Excellent yelp reviews and a short walk from our hotel? Yes, please. With its American flag, cute awning, and cosy interior, Marston’s brings an authentic small-town vibe to Pasadena. It’s tucked away several streets from the main drag in Old Town, so we felt lucky to find such a gem. Behold, the classic California brunch spot! Now we know where to bring our Texas family and friends to brunch!

Prepare your eyes for what simultaneously occupies a Vegan’s worst nightmares and a carnivorous Texan’s wildest brunch dreams. Yep, I savored my egg white omelet with turkey cilantro sausage and spinach topped with cheddar cheese and avocado. Maybe I score points by holding the sour cream? Regardless, it was delicious, colorful, and quite filling, so I wasn’t able to finish. I would have liked more veggies and less meat and cheese, but that’s just me (and most healthy living bloggers, methinks! We’re a rare and beautiful breed!).

After napping off my cheese headache at the hotel (oops), we checked out an apartment/townhouse that might be the one! I don’t want to jinx us, so I’m not posting pictures of the house just yet. Here’s the gorgeous tree just outside of what might be our bedroom window. To be honest, this post is a little short because this place is on my mind — and I don’t feel comfortable talking about it too much just yet. So, a few pictures of our day’s activities will have to suffice!

Told you! No pictures of [our] townhouse yet. Rather, I’ll distract you with pictures of colorfully cluttered places . . . like Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, where we ate dinner. (I’m so strategic.) Everyone was super friendly — note the guy behind Hubby in the background! My blackened fish, rice, and beans was a [relatively] healthy choice. Still, I can’t help but notice a lack of greens. Oh, you have to order a salad for that? My bad. ;-) It was filling.


So filling, in fact, that although we planned on grabbing cupcakes for dessert, but our full tummies had other plans. We knew we could eat cupcakes, but we also knew we wouldn’t enjoy them since we were satisfied with dinner. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial, right? Of course my sweet tooth kicked in later, so I indulged with dark chocolate. Our hotel scores major points with me for its free dark chocolate mint squares in bowls throughout the lobby. Oh, don’t mind me! Just sneaking my fifth chocolate square! Yes, I’ve become well-acquainted with the lobby-folk. ;-)

Today we attend a church service in Pasadena, check out a few more properties, put in an application for the front-runner, and fly back to San Francisco this evening. I am so ready to sleep in our bed! Love to all of you!

Have you ever had trouble deciding on which apartment/house/townhouse to rent/buy? (*Raises hand*)

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, Lovelies!

We started Friday morning with steel cut oats at our hotel in beautiful Costa Mesa. Since I wasn’t in the mood for choco-oats, didn’t have access to peanut butter (sad face), and don’t generally don’t like my oats sugared up, these steel cuts were fruity-licious (and patriotic) with apple chunks, berries, walnuts, and banana slices. Mmm mmm mmmmm.

Good thing Velvet Husband ate a hearty breakfast, too, because he needed the energy. On our way from Costa Mesa to Pasadena to check out houses, a car swerved into our lane on the passenger side of our car, narrowly avoiding collision thanks to Hubby’s quick thinking and reflexes. I was on the passenger side, so I saw just how close they came to hitting us. My body braced for the car to spin out of control as my mind returned to an unwelcome place . . .

In 2004, while on my way to a summer school class, I lost control of my car on slick pavement. The car hydroplaned, flipped, and landed upside down. My car was totaled, but I walked away with only a chard of glass in my eye and a renewed gratitude for life. This accident left me with a palpable sense of driver’s anxiety that creeps up on me to this day. If I ever come across as a control freak in the car, this is [partially] why.

This close call reminded that life can change in an instant. Velvet Husband’s vigilance saved our lives. Just minutes before, we were discussing a few “conditions” I have on moving to LA. I’ve jokingly referred to a contract we’ll sign (the lawyer in me wants it in writing, y’all!), in which we’ll promise that the driver may never have their cellphone in the front seat. Back seat, trunk, or with the passenger? Fine. But no phones near the driver. I haven’t drawn this baby up in writing yet, but I’m so thankful we we were contractually adherent. :-)

After our brush with disaster and checking out a Pasadena house, we were hungry. We found a vegan restaurant in Old Town to satisfy our veggie cravings, Green Earth Vegan Cuisine. Yes, I do crave things other than dark chocolate. Velvet Husband polished off five spring rolls in no time.

Someone’s a closet vegan! Not to worry though; the vegetable quesadillas were to die for. They were probably my favorite part of a fantastic meal.

We both ordered vegan lasagna — SO happy with our selections!

Only drawback? I was coveting the vegan carrot cake, but they didn’t have it! All for the best, though, because let’s be honest, it’s not like I was hungry after this fabulous vegan fare. And not to worry because I see a cupcake in my future. ;-)

After linner (lunch-dinner, y’all), I enjoyed a soy chai tea latte, caught up with bloggity blogs, and checked myself out in photo booth at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Watch out, Hollywood; there’s a new couple in [Old] Town! Please note pocket protector action. 

After PDA-ing our way through Pasadena, we finally saw Bridesmaids. I can’t remember the last time I laugh-cried so hard during a movie! After our close call on the freeway, it felt amazing to laugh to the point of crying. Today we explore more places to live. Enjoy the weekend and be safe, y’all!

What’s making you LAUGH this weekend?

What’s your cell phone car policy?

What better way to celebrate my return to health than an upper body weights workout and light cardio? Best of all, I practically had the hotel gym all to myself yesterday.

Except for the cleaning man who followed me around with his vacuum. (Said cleaning man was quite pleasant, but that doesn’t change the fact that the vacuum was annoying.) During his brief interlude to clean the filter, I captured photographic evidence of my [rather loud] workout intruder. Seriously, I felt like I was in the way. Um, should I leave now? 

After successfully dodging the vacuum, I enjoyed a convenient bowl of Starbucks oatmeal at South Coast Plaza, which is a shopper’s dream connected to our hotel. In addition to nuts, I mixed in banana slices and Starbucks dark chocolate for a delicious flavor combination. Believe me, this bowl got significantly more decadent when the chocolate melted post-stir. This was my first time trying Starbucks dark chocolate, and I’m a fan. They partner with TCHO for their chocolate, so go figure, it’s good stuff. I still prefer Ghiradelli 86% and Lindt 85%, but this is quality.

What’s that, you thought I had enough chocolate for one day? Oh, I’m sorry. No, I’m not. I’m very strict about chocolate consumption, i.e., it’s mandatory.

Room service? Don’t mind if I do.

I may have nibbled on Ghiradelli dark chocolate after dinner, too. ;-) Maybe it was Jenny’s chocoholic’s anonymous post, but I can’t seem to get enough dark chocolate lately. Lifting weights and increased dark chocolate consumption — sure signs of my returned vim and vigor, no?

Most importantly, thank you all so much for your overwhelming support of our Southern California move! I get even more excited reading through your comments! It seems fitting for this Thankful Thursday that I’m brimming with gratitude for each and every one of you and for your support of our move. I’ll keep you updated on job-hunting, house-hunting, and any accompanying stress-eating. *Reaches for chocolate.* Whaaat? ;-)

What can you not get enough of this week?

Happy Wednesday, Sweet Ones! Since my blog’s humble beginnings (i.e., the day I decided to snap a few pictures of dinner), I’ve been somewhat evasive about our future plans. ¿Por qué? Because we’ve been making plans, y’all! Well, the time has come to lift the curtain. We’re moving to . . .

Los Angeles! Yes, it’s true! We’re moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles for wonderful opportunities presented by my budding career as an actress Velvet Husband’s career. ;-) All joking aside, I’m really happy and ready to explore my career opportunities in sunny Southern California.

Aside from the excitement about our careers, how do I feel about the move? I’m ready for a fresh start in a new [to us] city, and I’m processing. As many of you know, I made several moves as a child because my father’s job took our Texas-based family to Norway, Indonesia, Russia, and then back to Texas. While this upbringing instilled in me a sense of adventure, it’s also part of my makeup to crave a sense of home. Well, Velvet Husband and I have decided it’s time to try flip-flops, palm trees, and avocados on for size and see how it feels to call Southern California home. We don’t know how long we’ll be in LA, but we’re confident that this a step in the right direction for us. We’re challenging ourselves and growing individually and as a couple as we make these oh-so-very adult decisions. For now, I’m learning to be comfortable with the unknown that lies ahead. Not easy for a girl who feels lost without her trusty [Lilly Pulitzer] planner. And yes, zee planner matches zee phone cover. Too matchy matchy, you say? I think not. I digress. Point is, as always, faith is my source of strength during this transitional time.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

And so, we take the first step. We’re staying at a hotel in Costa Mesa while Velvet Husband is at a work-related hearing and I scour the net for places to live in our community of choice, gorgeous Pasadena. Our goal is to move here in the next month and get comfortable in our (gulp) new home. In addition to a place to live, I’m also looking for a job (Mama needs a job, y’all!), so any and all leads are welcome. Yes, change is afoot!

Again, thank you so very much for your sweet comments wishing me a speedy recovery. Your sweet words mean so much to me! I’m happy to report that after taking a turn for the worse on Monday, I’m feeling much better today. Good enough to workout this morning, even. Hope each of you is enjoying a lovely day!

Are you in the midst of a transition of any kind? Do tell!

In search of a new way to prepare my morning oats, I settled on Chocolate-Covered Katie’s recipe for Cookie Dough Baked Oatmeal (Boatmeal). After leaving the broiler on too long, however, the first attempt came out a tad charred. Oops.

But the second boatmeal turned out swimmingly! Did someone say perfectionist? I like to call myself a recovering perfectionista, but that’s a story for another day. ;-) Regardless, my taste buds were happy beneficiaries this morning. I mean, do you see anything wrong with this? 

Because I don’t. And Velvet Husband, who is more laid back than I and unaffected by slight charring, enjoyed boatmeal number one in addition to his oversugared coffee shop bear claw unspecified baked good. By the by, if you’re vegan or otherwise craving chocolate-covered and exceptional breakfasts and desserts, what are you still doing hangin’ around here? Check out Chocolate-Covered Katie, stat!

There are so many possible variations of this recipe (e.g. almond, rice, soy, or dairy milk in place of water, no cinnamon, syrup or sweetener, apple sauce instead of banana, almond butter instead of peanut butter, raisins instead of chocolate chips, craisins instead of raisins, butterscotch chips, coconut flakes, white chocolate chips, protein powder, chia seeds…), that you can expect to see many more boatmeal appearances in the future. And if you’d like to eat what I’m eating (I’ll have what she’s having!), here was this morning’s first take on Katie’s delicious baked oatmeal. I added an extra dollop of peanut butter for a decadent and healthy breakfast treat.

Chocolate-Covered Katie Cookie Dough Baked Oatmeal (Boatmeal)

Spray a small ramekin with cooking spray of your choice so the cake pops out after baking. (I used olive oil spray but ended up eating mine out of the ramekin anyways.) In a small bowl, mix together the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch salt
  • dash cinnamon
  • pure vanilla extract to taste
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • spoonful organic crunchy peanut butter
  • handful semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
Pour oatmeal mix in a small 1 cup ramekin. My 7 oz ramekin worked great. Bake for 20 minutes at 380 degrees then broil for about 3 minutes on high, careful not to overcook. Done! Also, be very careful while handling the hot ramekin. I topped mine with extra peanut butter. As always, thank you for the great recipe, Katie! I was full from breakfast all morning and into the afternoon. Breakfast success.

Any more guesses as for where we’re moving? No guessing if I’ve already told you! Ahem…Heather, Rose, Cristina, Mary Anne, Ashley, Mommy, Julia, Liz, Hayley, and others! No guessing from y’all, but you can still comment! — I LOVE to hear from all of you because it lets me know you’re reading! Speaking of which, thank you all SO much for your sweet words by comment, text, email, and phone wishing me a quick recovery. I’m still not feeling 100%, and I can’t wait to feel better so I can get active again. But clearly I can’t be too sick if I’m eating chocolate, right? ;-)

If you had to eat one breakfast everyday for the next month, what would it be? 
When you’re sick with a cold and sore throat, do you workout or completely rest?
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