Posts Tagged ‘Velvet Husband’

I started the day with a pilates class at our neighborhood studio, Mighty Pilates. I’ve attended Mighty’s group classes since last November when I scored a killer intro deal on BloomspotNestled in our cute little neighborhood and five minutes away by foot, this has been a wonderful place to workout and meet some fantastic people. Everyone on the Mighty team is friendly and knowledgeable, and the environment is spa-like…except for the rows of torturous reformers and towers! The Jumpboard and Sport classes are my favorites because they combine cardio and strength training. I left class feeling quite mighty!

Notice anything different about breakfast? I usually don’t photograph my drinks, but I just want to show you that I’m hydrating! In addition to an unsweetened iced tea, I drank plenty of water in a new water bottle I picked up in Tahoe. A useful souvenir, no? My latest theory is that I need a pretty new water bottle every few months to motivate me to drink more water. A little sad, I know!

Anywho, after two mornings away from my beloved oaties, this bowl of whipped cinnamon banana oatmeal was just what I needed to energize me for the busy day ahead!

Later in the afternoon, I grabbed a Larabar on-the-go because I didn’t have time for a seated meal just yet…

But before getting started on making my husband’s banana cream pie dreams come true, I needed an energy boost. So, I made a mini smoothie, halving the ingredients, resulting in this little bowl of protein-packed energy goodness.

As you might have noticed, my husband is obsessed with banana cream pie. For his birthday, I decided to make him a BCP to share with friends at his dinner later that night. For a second, I considered lightening the traditional BCP recipe. But don’t worry. After over two and a half years of marriage, it didn’t take long to make the right decision. Sometimes you just have to stir in some sugar and butter and throw caution to the wind. Ah, the things I do for love!

He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.”
Michael Pollan

Traditional Banana Cream Pie 

Recipe from Here


  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked (I used Christine’s Handmade Upper Crust Frozen Pastry Shell, which I highly recommend!)
  • 3 bananas, sliced


  1. If you are using a frozen pastry shell, bake it and set aside to cool.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner.
  3. Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes while stirring continuously. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the mixture has a smooth consistency.
  4. Line the cooled pastry shell with sliced bananas. Top with pudding mixture.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes. Chill for an hour.
  6. Top with coconut flakes and cocoa nibs. Serve and enjoy!
Pie in tow, we headed to meet our dear friends at Everett & Jones, a famous barbecue joint just across the Bay in Oakland. Why barbecue, you ask? Well, you can take the man out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the man. And let it be known that this BBQ joint is Velvet Husband-approved. We loved it. And coming from two Texans, you know this place had to be something special. I loved how our drinks were served in mason jars.

The best part of the night for me was my sweet husband’s reaction to it all!

We had so much fun spending time with our awesome friends. I adore each person in this picture!  Thank you so much for celebrating with us!

After dinner the staff emerged from the kitchen in a congo line, clapping and singing with Velvet Husband’s blazing banana cream pie in tow. In my opinion, you can never be too old for the royal treatment!

We had such a fun night! Happy Birthday to my sweet husband, the biggest blessing in my life! I love birthdays because they give me an extra excuse to spoil him like he spoils me. He kept telling me, “I don’t want my birthday to be over!” Now that’s a good day.

Y’all come back now, ya hear? 😉

What is your favorite must-have birthday treat?


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Good morning! It’s almost the weekend! Do you have any fun weekend plans getting you through to Friday? Do tell! Velvet Husband and I are headed to Lake Tahoe for a spring ski trip to celebrate his birthday!

Have you ever noticed these knobby-looking pollarded trees looming over Bay Area streets? Check out these beauties near our flat. Kinda creepy and The Road-esque, huh?

Breakfast was Overnight Oats in a Jar Part Deux! My first attempt wasn’t too successful, probably because I left out the “in a jar” part and made them in a bowl. Super smart, I know! 😉 As you can imagine, without all the peanut butter goodness to scrape off the sides, my first OIAJ attempt was a little “meh.” This attempt, however, was a peanut-buttery success! The night before, I mixed together 1/2 cup of oats, 1 cup of water, cocoa nibs, and a few banana slices.

Searching for warmth on a cold and drizzly morning, I heated up my OIAJ in the microwave for about a minute and added blueberries and a scoop of peanut butter. I love how comforting and portable this breakfast is. Many thanks to the amazing bloggers, Tina from Carrots ‘N’ Cake and Kath at Kath Eats Real Food, for inspiring my little breakfast jar.

For lunch, I met Velvet Husband at a vegetarian restaurant called Greens, which I highly recommend if you’re in town. I first ate at Greens when a dear friend from Russia (she’s from Colorado; we just lived together in Russia) visited me around the time Velvet Husband and I first moved to San Francisco. Stunning light-and-airy dining room, sweeping Golden Gate Bridge views, vegetarian splendor, and a few vegan dessert options! I had fresh spring rolls (pictured here with tofu, which I promptly removed post-picture because of my soy sensitivity), spring stir fry, and a vegan brownie with almond sorbet. The spring rolls were a great starter, and spring stir fry was oh-so-delish. The vegan brownie was good, but a bit on the dry side. I kind of ended up wishing I had saved room for a cupcake instead, but hey, at least it looks pretty! 😉 Overall, a wonderful experience. Definitely worth checking out when you’re in San Francisco!

Since we had a late lunch, I skipped the leftover stuffed bell pepper and went with a Carrot Cake Larabar during a break in my Russian class. Much less annoying than a classroom carrot chomp fest, agreed?

Don’t you just love those professors who treat grown students like middle schoolers? I do, I do! And if you’re curious, this is a continuing education class I’m taking to brush up on my Russian — I already graduated from college and law school. 🙂 Anywho, our sweet professor brought us delicious Russian candy that remind me of Mother Russia! You’ll find these chocolates made by the famous Russian candy company, “Krasny Oktyabr” (Red October) all over Russia and in speciality shops stateside. Red October makes delicious and uniquely Russian chocolates with cute names like “Skazki Pushkina” (Pushkin’s Fairy Tales), “Misha Kosolapy” (The Pigeon-Toed Bear), and the one I had last night, “Krasnaya Shapochka” (The Little Red Riding Hood). I forgot how vkusno (tasty) Russian candy is! Do you have any favorite international sweets? Where do you find them in the U.S.?

Good night, San Francisco! Thank you so much for reading my baby blog! 🙂

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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. 🙂
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’s 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? 😉 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. Have you ever considered becoming vegan? If you’re vegan, how did you decide to give up eating animal products?

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I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that Velvet Husband is home! We’ve been inseparable since he arrived. Just the way it should be. A little Ella Fitzgerald for this sunny San Francisco Sunday and Velvet Husband is sitting right next to me. Life is good. 🙂

Last night we celebrated his homecoming with a dinner date at Harris’ Steakhouse. We originally planned on eating at one of our tried-and-true neighborhood favorites, but Velvet Husband was craving a steak, so we went to a Harris’ on a friend’s recommendation. Harris’ has a real old school San Francisco vibe. I’m so glad we tried something new! Someone else was happy, too…

I don’t eat steak frequently, so when I do, it better be worth the splurge. This is probably the best steak dinner I’ve had in San Francisco, but note that I’ve only had three steak dinners in San Francisco. 😉 To be fair, I have to say that it doesn’t compete with my favorite steakhouse, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Texas, both of which have superior steaks and sides. If you’re ever in Houston or Dallas and need a steak, I highly recommend Pappas Bros. or Vic & Anthony’s. But, let’s be honest–a Texas steakhouse is going to have a totally different vibe from a San Francisco steakhouse. This was a classic San Francisco steakhouse with wonderful service and ambiance. Our waiter was warm and unpretentious, so that made our experience even better. He seemed happy that we chose to dine at Harris’, and it’s always nice to feel welcome.

I had the mixed green salad and the petit filet mignon. I savored every bite and stopped before I was full. It’s called room for dessert, y’all. 🙂

We didn’t know what the dessert menu looked like, but midway through our dinner, Velvet Husband and I overheard our table neighbors utter the fateful words: “red velvet cake.” The rest is history. Hello, lovely.

Oh. my. goodness. This was my favorite part of the meal. Big surprise, right? It was topped with a delicious white chocolate cream cheese frosting and almond praline ice cream. This little slice of heaven was much more moist and delicious than the red velvet cake I had at 5a5 Steakhouse a few months ago. I somehow managed to leave a few bites on my plate. Velvet Husband loved his upside down pineapple cake with coconut ice cream and candied pineapple.

Now for the bad news. Even though I ate in moderation (for a celebratory steak dinner!), I ended up with a headache. I had a few sips of red wine, so it may be the combination of the abnormally rich food and alcohol on a day that I did Bikram, but I’m only now beginning to feel 100%. I woke up thirsty this morning, so that tells me I was probably dehydrated and I’m still not drinking enough water. In spite of this little dehydration/headache mishap, we had such an amazing time together! I’m so blessed and thankful to have him back with me. 🙂 What is your favorite place to celebrate special occasions?

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After five weeks apart from each other, Velvet Husband comes home tomorrow! He’s been in Orange County for a big trial for the past 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. 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. 🙂
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  to get serious about cleaning our apartment! Have a fantastic night, and many thanks for reading my young blog! 🙂

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