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November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from Oregon.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I spent yesterday driving up to Oregon with my parents to spend Thanksgiving weekend with my sister. It was a really long trip, but completely worth it to see my seastar for a couple of days. And it's chilly here! Which makes me feel more like it's the holidays.

As much as I love LA, it's going to be a high of 86 degrees today. I'll take the 50s, thank you.


We left super early in the morning and drove all day, stopping frequently. We packed the car with tons of stuff and made the long trip over.




Snack essentials! When I was a kid, I used to always pop these onto my fingers and pretend I was a strange witch. They're called jjanggoo, and they taste a bit like crunchy churros. So, so good. Of course, I also need my Cheetos. Don't mess with a girl and her flamin' hot (especially if it's with lime).



We stopped in Sacramento for a quick bite. After looking around Yelp, I took my parents to a little French cafe called La Bonne Soupe Cafe. If you are ever in Sacramento, please go there. They have such a fun and delicious menu, I fell in love.




We ordered The Classic, which comes with gooey brie, prosciutto, lettuce, tomato, and balsamic. On some wondrous crispy but chewy bread. Guh. My heart. We also got the Paris Hoagie (I think that's what it was called?) which comes with brie, salame, mortadella, lettuce, tomato. 

As far as soups go, the lobster bisque was so good. Almost everyone who came in after us ordered it because it's lip smackingly delicious. There was also a late order french onion soup, which was surprisingly really great -- not too salty, and right out of the oven.



After a quick lunch, we were off again!



I know that I've commented on the drought in California before, but seeing this lake and how much water was gone just took my breath away. You can see where the water line used to be -- and where it is now.


You can catch glimpses while driving down the freeway, but it shocks you every single time you see it. Where's the rain?


Trudging forward, suddenly, we were face to face with a mass of fog. Thick and cold, it invited us into its belly and we were in it for the long run.






How crazy is that? After driving in the dark for quite some time after that, we finally made it to Oregon. There were hugs, bags to be unloaded, and dinner to be had. Which my sister and I went to go pick up and ran into a rogue sleigh left unattended...


I'm so happy to be here with family for Thanksgiving. I wish my brother were here, but 4/5 isn't bad! I haven't spent Thanksgiving with my sister or my parents in 4 years, so it's nice to be here with them this time.

I am beyond thankful for my wonderful family, for the beautiful friends who have encouraged me and helped me through a rather strenuous move this past summer, and for all of the people who inspire me to blog. Truly, I have been blessed with such loving people and I thank God for that every day.

Please be safe, eat well, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!






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November 24, 2014

Pumpkin Pancakes.

Like most other bloggers, I wanted to do some Thanksgiving themed posts. The only problem for me is that I have absolutely no want to make things that I'm going to make for Thanksgiving...early. I'm lazy, we know this.

So instead of adding to the abundance of Thanksgiving dinner recipes out there (if you need some suggestions though, I'm going to link a few of my favorites thus far at the end), I opted for something lighter. Something that arguably could be had any time.

Pumpkin pancakes.


Honestly, I can't even call this a recipe. I didn't make the pancake mix -- I just thought that Thanksgiving day is going to be filled with cooking. Making stuffing, roasting turkey, etc. I'm going to want something super simple to whip up in the morning.

But I'm posting this here anyway, because..why not? They're the easiest pumpkin pancakes you could make, and they're made all the easier with pre-made pancake mix! Don't hate me.


What you're going to need:

Pancake mix -- you can make your own, or just use something you can buy pre-made. I'm all about minimizing work on Thanksgiving,  so..you know.
Pumpkin mix -- this is something we used for pumpkin ravioli at our restaurant, but it's a mix of pumpkin puree (maybe I'll do a post about this at some point?), salt and pepper, almonds, and parmesan cheese.
Whisk, ladle, spoon.
Christmas tunes -- this one is optional, but highly recommended. 


Scoop some pancake mix. I used a cup.


Get yourself some pumpkin mix! I used a few tablespoons, but you can eye this and put in as much as you please.


Add in some water! The package says to put in 2/3 cups of water, but we needed a little bit more. 



Whisk it all up!



My camera died, so I had to use my phone at the end...but these are the pancakes. They were pretty good, and I'll definitely be making this on the morning of Thanksgiving.

Looking out for all you lazy people out there -- I feel you. Happy eating!

And for Thanksgiving recipes for you to check out...

My girl Cynthia (aka tworedbowls) made special sweet potato casserole & stuffing rolls.
As always, A Beautiful Mess has a turkey that I'm itching to make (at least the setting -- so pretty!). And gravy, because of course.
Food 52 has a cheddar and black pepper cornbread that makes my mouth water.
Another friend of mine, Caitlin, has a stuffing you can try out if you're keeping it gluten-free.
Over on Do It Delicious, garlic and thyme mashed potatoes.
Finally, two types of butternut squash crostini: with a balsamic glaze at Fifteen Spatulas, or with sage on Chez CateyLou.

I also want to make a pie, but I haven't found a recipe that speaks to me yet..so we'll see what happens.






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November 20, 2014

My untold stories of New York

While I have another 'adventure' post waiting in my drafts, I wanted to take some time to post something different. I've been jam-packing a lot of hiking and California posts up on the blog, but there hasn't been a lot of food or overall personal posts.

And if you know me, you know that I love food and getting weirdly personal on the Internet.

So I went through the photos on my computer and found a great bunch that I haven't posted anywhere before -- photos that I'd really like to have up here. So I'm calling this my untold stories of New York -- only from the past year, really (all of my other photos were on my external hard drive..which apparently crashed. Still can't talk about it, so sad).

Anyway, they're random snippets and little memories, so please excuse the lack of direction here.











I have been missing New York more than ever these past few days. Maybe it's because my birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I wish I could be back spending it with all of my friends -- though I am thankful to have my parents here for this one. Haven't spent a birthday with family in six years!

If you're reading from New York: I love you, and I miss you. I will have to do another one of these posts in the future -- it's really nice being able to collect these memories and pop them up together for a moment. 

And I promise the food posts are coming.





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November 17, 2014

Hiking up Mt. Baldy...again


Just last week, I hiked up this same trail around Mt. Baldy. I wasn't expecting to go back so soon, but my dad and I thought my mom would love the beginning part of this hike. The streams, the leaves changing colors -- nature at its finest!

I promise you, this time around was different from last week -- and I have the photos to prove it!


It all started out the same, really. There weren't as many leaves on the branches and the weather was a lot colder than last time. There was a definite crunch beneath every step that we took, browned leaves covering the ground as some sort of textured walkway.




My mom and I have a love for finding water. We love streams, rivers, lakes, etc. She doesn't like going in, but I have an obsession with touching the water. I must dip something in, whether it's a hand or my entire body. This little stream couldn't possibly handle all my jelly, so I dunked my hands in the frigid water and called myself Iceman (though this is probably inappropriate).

But really, it was so cold. Freeeezing! You could say it was....ice cold.




My dad is super strong. But while he has physical strength... 


I have magical powers, ha! You might've caught another version on my Instagram.



Looking at pinecones, I think.


Weirdly enough, I didn't have as much trouble going up the mountain this time. Though the wind was cold, the sun was really warm so I was caught between sweating and freezing my butt off the entire way up. A sleeveless top was probably not the smartest decision.


But, we made it to the top! Finally!

Hoping to make it to the actual peak of the mountain (this was just the Saddle), we set off on yet another hike. We stuffed our faces with kimbap and threw our backpacks back on.

However, we were met with something we hadn't been expecting.


About fifteen minutes in, the clouds started rolling in. Fast.



We took one look at that and decided that it would be best to make our way down the mountain before we were caught in some intense fog. The second bit of this hike is really quite dangerous -- the trail is more narrow, more rocky, more likely for you to slip and fall.

So, we turned right around and ran back.


We ran past burnt bark..


...And to the fields of pinecones.


Past what I call the centipede tree...





And right into the thick of it. I have never seen anything like this before. The clouds swept in and shrouded us in a thick coat of cold mist.



I wish I could show you just how quickly this fog came in. Within minutes, we went from having bright blue skies to this.





How spooky does this look?

I put my camera away until we made it down past the switchbacks, which leads me to this mini PSA.


If you see piles of rocks like this, please don't knock them down. They're trail markers, and they are extremely helpful when navigating a trail that doesn't have a clear path. We saw kids knocking them down all over the place, and we did our best to re-build them as quickly as we could. 

Honestly, that's how people get lost.

Also, please don't litter. It's really not that difficult to keep your trash with you until you can find a trash can. We try to pick up wrappers and what not when we see them, but it really is the easiest thing you can not do.



On another note, baby pinecones!!! Look at how cute these are!



And then we were at the bottom. Coming down the mountain was much more difficult for me this time..I am completely exhausted from the hike. I would like nothing more than to curl up with some hot chocolate and some Netflix. Please.





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