Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Love & Hate The Cold

It is wintertime in Lakeport, CA. Temperatures have been in the high teens at night and mid thirties during the day. I have never lived where it gets this cold. Nor have I ever lived in a place where I HAVE TO use the heater. Last week it even snowed here. Although it didn't stick, it was pretty exciting to look out the window and see the snowflakes coming down.

The reality of winter hit a couple days ago when the we woke up and had no running water; the pipes had frozen. I figured out which pipe was frozen, blow-dried it, and got the water running again! Woohoo! This however was a wake-up call, so I went to the hardware store, bought some good insulation, and then installed it. In the future, we will be better prepared for the cold!

Because of the cold weather, it has also become time to start eating comfort food (my favorite!). The past couple of nights I have made beef stew, chili, mac'n'cheese, and fried chicken with mashed potatoes. These types of meals are my favorite because they warm me up and leave me satisfied. Nothing compares to a warm and satisfying meal.

During this season I am thankful for my loving husband, hilarious family, warm fireplace, unfrozen pipes, christmas lights, warm meals, soft blankets, and loving friends!

More pictures to come in my next post. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hotel Life

It is day three of "hotel life". For the past couple of days I have been sitting in a hotel room entertaining myself while Emad is at work training. Spending the last couple of days here has made me so thankful that I have a home to go home to. But, there are some perks of living in a hotel.

1. I can turn the heater up as high as I like and I don't have to worry about the electricity.
2. Bottomless free coffee!
3. Free breakfast
4. Cable TV
5. I can make a mess and someone comes in and cleans up after me.

Despite all the perks, I am ready to be home! I am a hopeless homebody, who can not stand being away for too long. I think that these past weeks have been the longest I've been away in a very long time. Last night over dinner, I was thinking about how much I missed home when I realized that we locked ourselves out. Whoops! Wish us luck getting back into our home tonight!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I wish that I was able to condense down my two weeks at home to an easy to read sentence of how wonderful it was. Unfortunately, I am not able to describe the two weeks with only one sentence. Nor would I do it justice listing off every event, breakfast, and party like a long to-do list. Instead here are some random photos of family and friends while we were home. Enjoy!

... stay tuned for more pictures!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Twenty Things I Love About Lakeport

1. Wild Turkeys roam the roads. WILD TURKEYS! (I had never seen turkey before moving here)

2. Deer roam the roads. DEER! EVERYWHERE!

3. Everything I could possibly need is 5-7 minutes away.

4. That 5-7 minute drive is right by the most beautiful lake ever!

5. The sky is blue and clouds are white. Nothing is grey. Unless it's a rain cloud.

6. When I hear a siren, I know that I can look at the news in 30 (ish) minutes to find out what is going on.

7. When I hear a helicopter it means either (1) there is a fire or (2) someone is getting airlifted to a hospital. No more nights of helicopters circling our house with their lights in our windows! And again, I can look at the news in 30 (ish) minutes to find out what is going on.

8. Night time is dark and quiet. No people shouting in neighboring apartments or houses.

9. If I hear a gunshot, I do not worry. It's probably just some kids in the field across the street.

10. If I hear 12 gunshots, I still do not worry.

11. Strangers wave as they drive by.

12. There are about 10-15 restaurants in town. Deciding where to eat out is so much easier!

13. You meet the friendliest people at the Post Office. And the wait is always about 3 minutes, not 30 minutes.

14. Date nights consist of going to Safeway to buy groceries and get a Starbucks coffee while we shop.

15. I have only filled up my gas tank twice since moving here. I used to fill up twice a week!

16. There is a Middle Eastern Restaurant here!

17. People have fireplaces and wood stoves. And they use them!

18. Trees and vineyards change colors. VINEYARDS! They are beautiful!

19. Wineries and Farms are 10-15 minutes away.

20. There is a lake.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Morning Routine

We all have a morning routine. Do you stumble out of bed, disregard your slippers or your freezing toes, and head straight for the coffee machine? Or, do you lay in bed and leisurely read the news (aka. Facebook) while your preprogrammed coffee machine sends wafts of delicious smelling coffee all through your house? Or, do you wake up alert, slip on your slippers, and pour yourself a big cup of OJ (refusing the coffee). We all have a routine. It may not be the same everyday, but it's routine.

At our house, weekday mornings are a rush! Upon hearing the alarm, I leap out of bed, and rush to the kitchen to get Emad's breakfast and coffee made, and lunch packed. The other morning, while speeding through the kitchen, I left a cupboard open and ran my forehead right into it! I still have a red mark from the cupboard. That is what I get for trying to be awake before my morning cup of coffee. I am a slave to my morning cup of coffee.

The best type of morning at our house is today; a weekend morning. Because of the early weekday mornings, I am unable to sleep in. So, I get up early cook a big breakfast, blog, watch TV and drink a leisurely cup of coffee. There is nothing as enjoyable as a leisurely cup of coffee.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Crafts

This week I am very happy to say that my braided rag rug is finished! Here are some pictures of the progress,

I used the scraps to make my Halloween Costume: a fabric owl. 

The finished product!
It helps the guest room/office/craft room look more homey!
I used a tutorial by A Beautiful Mess as a reference, but made it BIGGER and didn't glue it to another piece of fabric underneath.

On a side note, this was my view at lunch the other day. It was a gorgeous day by the lake!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Food of the Week

At the Elias house we have two important meals, breakfast and dinner. Breakfast is usually eaten in a rush while Emad hurries to get to work. Or, it is eaten late in the day on a Saturday while Emad is watching Football. Dinner is my time to experiment! I love having all day to dream about and prep dinner. However, there are nights when I am just to lazy to cook anything and we end up eating breakfast for dinner! So, here are some dinners and breakfasts that I have made this week. Let me know if you make any of these and how they turn out!


Pumpkin Curry Soup
I started reading A Beautiful Mess' blog this past week and I have fallen in love with their simple, delicious recipes. I made their Pumpkin Curry Soup this past week and paired it with Grilled Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches made with Homemade Bread (See Recipe Below). Because they didn't specify what size can of pumpkin was needed, I ended up with extra "pumpkiny" soup. So, I recommend using the smaller can of pumpkin, not a huge one. I can not rave enough about how good this soup was!!

Polish Sausage & Potato
(Sorry no picture!)
The best thing about this recipe is how easy it is to make! My mom used to make this when I was a kid, so I have fond memories of this dish.

1 Polish Sausage
3-4 Potatoes, diced
1/2 Head of Cabbage, chopped
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 Jalapeno, sliced (optional)
Salt (Note: I used Lawry's Seasoning Salt to add a little extra flavor)

1. Slice the polish sausage in 1/2 inch pieces.
2. Add all ingredients to steamer (Salt & Pepper to taste).
3. Steam until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Enjoy!

Salsa Chicken & Rice
(Sorry no picture!)
Emad & I came up with a variation of my mom's classic Salsa Chicken & Rice recipe this week. And, I think I like it better! :)

3-4 Tomatoes
1 Onion
1-2 Jalapenos
1 cup Cilantro

1. Place everything in a blender and blend until creamy.

Salsa Chicken
2 pieces Pita Bread, torn into pieces
2 Chicken Breasts
2 cups Salsa (recipe above)
2 slices Pepper Jack Cheese (optional)
3 tablespoons Butter

1. Grease bottom of 8x8 dish.
2. Place pita bread pieces on bottom of dish. (This will soak up all the juices & be delicious!)
3. Add 1 cup of salsa to dish and spread over the bread.
4. Place chicken breasts on top of salsa.
5. Cover chicken breasts with remaining 1 cup salsa.
6. Place dollops of butter on top of everything.
7. Cover with foil.
8. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
9. Add sliced cheese to top of chicken when it is done cooking. Let it melt before serving.

Serve with side of rice.


I discovered my husband's new favorite food, granola! Here is the best way to serve granola,

1 Apple, chopped up (or any other fruit, but Apples are in season)
2 cups Plain Yogurt
1/2 cup Granola (recipe)
1 Tablespoon Honey

1. Layer everything in a bowl and enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls
My favorite type of morning is lazy weekend mornings with fresh cinnamon rolls. The only downside to that is that cinnamon rolls are not a "lazy morning" type of food. They require tons of work and lots of time. But, lately I have convinced myself that homemade cinnamon rolls are worth the work. So, most Saturday mornings, Emad gets to wake up to the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls. I would be lying if I told you that I found a simple recipe. BUT, I DID find a super delicious recipe that is almost impossible to mess up. Enjoy!

Eggs & Tamales
This is another childhood favorite dish. And, simple enough to make on a weekday morning when Emad is rushing out the door.

1 package XLNT Tamales (sold near the refrigerated Mexican food at most grocery stores)
6 eggs, scrambled
1-2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, or whatever you like)
1-2 JalapeƱos, seeded & diced (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Slice the tamales and place in a 9x13 baking dish.
3. Bake the tamales while you are scrambling the eggs.
4. Remove the tamales when the eggs are done.
5. Place the scrambled eggs on top of the tamales.
6. Layer the cheese on top of the eggs.
7. Put back in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Homemade Bread
(Sorry no picture!)
As I mentioned in my last post, I am hate buying things that the store that I can make at home; this includes bread. We do not eat much bread at our house (except for pita bread & tortillas), so I haven't needed to buy much at the store. But, last week when I wanted to make Grilled Turkey & Cheese sandwiches, I needed bread.

When we got married, I got a bread machine which I desperately wanted! Being the rule follower that I am, I would follow all the directions but my bread would never turn out good. It would be THICK, spongy, and not very good. Finally, I found a recipe that goes against all the bread machine's rules and makes the most delicious, airy loaf of bread. Yum!