Posts Tagged ‘Coffee Shops’

On Easter morning, Velvet Husband and I donned our Sunday best and headed to the annual Easter celebration at Velvet Aunt and Uncle’s farm in East Travis County.

We look forward to Easter at the farm every year. First, we packed ourselves into the on-site chapel like little sardines. Something about singing hymns with family and dear friends in a little chapel warms my soul and makes me feel like dancing. He is risen, indeed!

After church, we enjoyed a delicious brunch prepared by sweet Renee here. Renee is so genuine and prepares our meal with care each year. He said something that touched me — he said that he always keeps the family in mind while he prepares the meal. We’ve all heard of mindful eating, but Renee is also a mindful chef. Food always tastes better when it’s prepared with love.

I made sure to praise Renee for his beautiful portabello mushrooms. He shared with me that they were made of mushrooms, panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Simplicity is so sweet, isn’t it? The mixed vegetable salad of green beans and brussels sprouts was fresh and delicious, and some of the ingredients were directly sourced from the farm.

Velvet Husband’s Grand Uncle recently celebrated his 80th birthday, so we helped him commemorate the occasion with a colorful Easter cake with heavenly icing. It was no Patsy’s chocolate cake, but sometimes store-bought cake does the trick. Most importantly, it was fun to celebrate our wonderful Great Uncle. He is such a special and inspiring man, and I’m honored to be a part of his family. I love talking with him about the latest books, movies, and their most recent global escapades; he loves to travel with his beautiful wife and Velvet Husband’s sweet Mimi. He inspires us all with his sweet spirit and contagious joie de vivre. It’s hard not to smile around this guy!

With happy hearts and full bellies, we talked for several hours and enjoyed that gorgeous Texas sunshine. Here we are with the Mimi, Velvet Husband’s wonderfully sweet grandmother.

And what Easter is complete without a little pink and green?

True story ย — the little boy on the far right approached me, Velvet Husband, and Renee and asked if he could take one of the large Easter eggs (bottom left) home. Lacking egg-doling authority, we directed him to Velvet Uncle (far left). Looks like things didn’t go so well, ha!

I made a new furry farm friend.

Here’s Velvet Husband with his amazing Aunt, who, along with her husband, graciously hosted all Easter and pre-Easter celebrations. I am so blessed to call such beautiful people my family. Many thanks for another wonderful Easter!

After the family revelry, Velvet Husband and I wanted to chill out, but we weren’t ready to head back out to my parents’ house. So, we stopped by one of our favorite coffee shops in Austin, Mozart’s on Lake Austin, for refreshment, reading, and blogging. I would be hard-pressed to recommend a better place to read and blog on a gorgeous sunny day in Austin. Mozart’s has a tempting array of desserts, coffee drinks, and smoothies. Given my content post-brunch belly, I opted for an unsweetened iced tea and a Topo Chico. Days like this remind me to appreciate all the wonderful blessings in my life: God, family, friends, and good health. Happy Belated Easter to you and yours, friends!

Which holidays hold the most significance for you and your family?ย 


Read Full Post »

Tahoe to SF!

After so many satisfying meals recently, I shouldn’t be surprised when some miss the mark. Tired from our long day of skiing, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted for breakfast on Sunday. Natch, I tried a few things! First I ate a salmon & spinach omelet and strawberries. Nope, that’s not what I wanted.

Next, Velvet Husband and I split this massive waffle. It was alright, but it paled in comparison to the apple pancakes. Strike two! I stopped at this because I wasn’t hungry anymore, but man…it’s days like these when I crave a smoothie or a trusty bowl of oats!

But with a view like this, I can forgive and forget a multitude of breakfast sins. ๐Ÿ™‚

In retrospect, I was probably just dehydrated from the day before. It should come as no surprise that nothing sounded good when what I needed first was good old-fashioned water! After hydrating, relaxing, and walking, I was beginning to feel like myself. I’m learning more and more how integral proper hydration is to our overall health and wellbeing. I have a bad habit of waiting to drink enough water until I’m thirsty, but at that point, our bodies are already feeling the effects of dehydration. How much water do you drink each day? What differences have you noticed in your health since you started hydrating properly?ย 

On the way back to San Francisco, we stopped in Truckee, a small mountain town. We stumbled upon Elijah Bleu’s, a quaint coffee house that also serves hearty meals. Elija Bleu’s Veggie chili and cornbread hit the spot for lunch. There, nowย that’s better.

Now, brace yourselves for this one, y’all! During our lunchtime chatter, I couldn’t help but notice how Velvet Husband was situated directly between two little pig portraits. When I pointed this out to the house comedian, he promptly showed off his best pig-pression to complete the trio. Ladies and gents, I’m honored to introduce you to the three not-so-little pigs of Truckee! I love this man!

Oh yes, this happened. I was laughing to the point of crying, which happens pretty often around my husband, the house comedian! Reduced to sidesplitting laughter, our fellow coffee shop patrons weren’t sad to see the giggly tourists go! And hit the road we did…back to San Francisco.

Can you guess what I was was craving for dinner when we got home? ๐Ÿ˜‰

When was the last time you laughed so hard that you cried?ย 

Read Full Post »

The weather in San Francisco is still gorgeous, and Velvet Husband and I spent a lot of time together yesterday! Such a change from how crazy the past few months have been! For breakfast, I made a bowl of strawberry shortcake oatmeal fit for Miss Strawberry Shortcake herself! I crushed about ten Newman’s Own alphabet grahams (because I’m 10) and added them to the almost-cooked oatmeal on the stove. The crushed graham crackers tasted wonderful with the natural sweetness of the strawberries and bananas. Velvet Husband was too hungry for a photo shoot, but his oatmeal add-ins included whipped bananas, brown sugar, walnuts, and strawberries. He didn’t even notice the chia seeds, so my sneakiness paid off. Nothing R-rated here, just Red Velvet splendor!

Creatures of habit that we are, we walked to our local Peet’s Coffee for a little refreshment. I enjoyed an unsweetened black tea and conversation with a sweetened Velvet Husband.

For lunch, I made a delicious strawberry banana spinach smoothie with dark chocolate whey powder, glutamine, TCHO cocoa nibs and some sinking peanut butter. Good eggs sink, bad eggs float. This was a good peanut butter egg. Ooh, that just made me think of Cadbury peanut butter eggs!ย What’s your favorite Easter candy? More importantly, when can you send me some? ๐Ÿ˜‰

We got twenty of these festive plastic margarita cups in all different colors as a wedding gift from a friend of mine. She was so cute and spot-on to get us margarita glasses and margarita mix because we used to drink margs together after work at Baby Acapulco in Austin, also known as Baby A’s.

There’s a two margarita limit on the world famous Baby A’s purple margarita, so arrange for a designated driver if you plan on partaking. Come to think of it, my smoothie yesterday kinda resembled the infamous purple marg! Good thing I stopped at two. ๐Ÿ˜‰

After my purple margarita nutritious smoothie, Velvet Husband joined me in the evening for a strength & sculpt class. Obviously, I was feeling super ambitious with my weights. Ha! Even though I got a good burn yesterday, the lame music and general lack of enthusiasm in the class made me miss Body Pump. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ They don’t have Body Pump at our gym, so this class will have to suffice. There was a sub for the regular much-loved teacher, and whew…she had a tough crowd! I would have preferred the normal teacher, but I sympathized with the sub because people just weren’t receptive to her style. Velvet Husband and I tried to go along with her, but there weren’t too many other happy faces in the room yesterday!

For dinner I made pan-seared salmon and oven-roasted asparagus with garlic. I topped the salmon with avocado-mango salsa with cilantro. Velvet Husband and I were both very pleased with dinner.

Hope you’re having a great day!

Read Full Post »

What a gorgeous day in San Francisco. Velvet Husband and I started our morning with a walk to Peet’s Coffee for a little dose of caffeine. He had a white chocolate mocha, and I sipped on half of this bold iced coffee. I love our silly caffeine-fueled coffee shop chats.

I was so excited to make breakfast for two this morning! Brown sugar-sweetened oats with strawberries, bananas, coconut shavings, and a splash of milk for Velvet Husband, and chocolate peanut butter oats with blueberries, bananas, and coconut shavings for me. After weeks of flying solo, my breakfast was glad to socialize.

A few hours later, we headed over to the Ferry Building for a lunch/early dinner (linner?) at Gott’s Roadside. They don’t shy away from making a point here.

Okay, if you insist. I ATE a spicy chicken sandwich with dressings on the side so I could control the spiciness. I DRANK sparkling water with fresh lime.

I love the Ferry Building! We wandered into Sur La Table, where I picked up some cute culinary accoutrements. Velvet Husband is so patient with me and my browsing/shopping. ๐Ÿ™‚
Back at home, we watched The Road starring Viggo Mortensen, and I ate a peanut butter and banana snack with hidden glutamine.

I read Cormac McCarthy’sย The Road in 2007, but I had forgotten how powerful and terrifying the story is. If you read the book or watch the movie, just know that you’re in store for a depressing, albeit touching experience. There were a few tears in my eyes and oddly enough, it made me consider (for a few minutes anyway) a vegetarian, pescetarian, or (gasp) vegan lifestyle. Perfect timing after my steak dinner post, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I won’t go into why the The Road made me rethink society’s dietary norms, but feel free to ask questions if you’re curious.ย Have you ever considered becoming vegan? If you’re vegan, how did you decide to give up eating animal products?

Read Full Post »

After five weeks apart from each other, Velvet Husband comes home tomorrow! He’s been in Orange County for a big trial for the pastย five friggin’ weeks. Not the worst place to spend a month, but believe me, he wasn’t exactly chillin’ by the pool. He worked so many long and sleepless nights. I am so proud of him. San Francisco smiled with me today because Velvet Husband is coming home to us!

Chocolate peanut butter oats with bananas and blueberries are a perfect way to start the morning, don’t you agree? I used the same recipe as yesterday with the welcome addition of organic blueberries. This is the best breakfast I’ve had in a while.ย What is your favorite breakfast?

I needed something to tide me over till lunch, so I stopped by Tully’s on Fillmore & Jackson for an acai-berry pomegranate iced tea and a Ghiradelli dark chocolate square. The location of this Tully’s is ideal, but I find the customer service lacking. I’m always friendly with the staff, but I never get a smile in return. What’s up with that? Oh well, no matter. I’m reminded of Plato’s sage advice: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I’ll keep smiling in hopes that someday when I’m feeling down, a stranger’s kindness might lift my mood. Have I mentioned that in addition to being Secretary of Orange Jackets in college, I was also the Chair of Random Acts of Kindness? A fitting role, don’t you think?

I made a delicious chocolate-strawberry-blueberry-banana-spinach smoothie for a late lunch. Two nutrient dense smoothie glasses and two spoonfuls of peanut butter later, and I was was feelin’ good again. Cue the Robert Earl Keen.

I picked up fresh ingredients for an impromptu dinner of pan-seared halibut with avocado mango salsa. This meal was so quick and delicious! While prepping dinner, I snacked on a TCHO dark chocolate square. I’ve been known to do that from time to time. ๐Ÿ™‚
Pan-Seared Halibut with Avocado Mango Salsa
  • 7 oz halibut fillet
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Cooking Spray
  • Salt & Pepper

Avocado Mango Salsa:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 6 garlic clothes, diced
  • 6 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 mango, peeled and chopped
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Marinate halibut filet in olive oil or spray with olive oil cooking spray. Season halibut with salt and pepper.
  3. Place parchment paper on a cooking sheet and set aside.
  4. In a pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook on medium heat until browned.
  5. When sufficiently browned, remove garlic and onion from heat, and spoon them into a small bowl. Set aside.
  6. In the same pan used to cook the garlic and onion, sear the marinated halibut filet for three minutes on each side at medium heat.
  7. When searing is complete, place the halibut on parchment-lined cooking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.
  8. While halibut bakes, mix together remaining salsa ingredients in the bowl with garlic and onion.
  9. Serve halibut and salsa with fresh organic green or red leaf lettuce salad of your choice. Enjoy!
After this delicious dinner, I treated myself to a peanut butter treat. Now that I’ve watched DC Cupcakes, I think it’s time ย to get serious about cleaning our apartment! Have a fantastic night, and many thanks for reading my young blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

Read Full Post »