Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lettuce Wraps, Yummy Pasta, & Oreo Puddin Poke Cake

This past weekend Matt made me dinner!! It was SO yummy. I think that he should make me dinner more often, personally. He's such a good little cook! He made me Ginger Cashew Lettuce Wraps.  We had them at our Grace Groups a few months ago and they gave us the recipe and I can't believe it took us so long to make them. I will say that it requires a LOT of ingredients. We got all of these things at Super Lo (our local grocery store in East Memphis).

Ginger Cashew Lettuce Wraps

For the Ginger Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1/2 cup extra light olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tsp dark sesame oil
1 Tsp chili paste

For the Wraps:
1 lb ground turkey (we used ground beef)
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, diced small
1/3 cup cashews, roughly chopped
1 head Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and tough ends trimmed off

Preparation Instructions:
For the ginger sauce:
In a bowl or large jar, add in the minced ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, oil, honey, sesame oil, and chili paste.  Shake well to combine all ingredients. Shake well to combine all ingredients.
For the wraps:
Cook ground turkey (or beef) until done. Add in the carrots, water chestnuts and cashews, cook for 5-8 minutes. Pour in the jarred sauce and stir. bring it to a bubble, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

So my friend Mary Lyn and I love Pinterest (I know you already knew that about me) and we started getting together and cooking delicious goodies that we find there. Last time we made chicken pillows and this time we made Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Parmesan Pasta. IT WAS SO GOOD! Here's the recipe:

The next thing we made was literally one of the most delicious things I've ever helped create. I know I say that a lot, but this is seriously so yummy. Oh my goodness. I'm eating some it right now as I type this, in fact. It's called Oreo Puddin Poke Cake. And it's so easy to make!!!!!!

I can't get over how delicious it is. It should definitely move to your number one spot on your "must make ASAP" list. 

Anyways, hope yall enjoyed!!

Deep Cleaning Bathrooms: Grout & Toilets

This weekend I decided that it was time for a mini bathroom makeover. This house is pretty old and no matter how hard I cleaned the grout in that bathroom, it didn't look clean! I saw something on Pinterest that I thought would solve the problem AND IT DID! The magical substance is called Grout Refresh. I got it at Lowes for about $11. I got 3 bottles and used half of 1, so I took the others back. It pretty much dyes the grout a different color. I put it to use on the bathroom floor and in the shower.

This shower has a terrible mold problem. No matter how much bleach I use I can't get it clean!!! The grout in the shower has been dyed black in places and it just looks disgusting. The Grout Refresh covered it up perfectly and it looks like a different shower. Now when I clean it it actually LOOKS clean too!

Here are some more before pics (YUCK):

Here are some during pictures. I applied it with an old toothbrush and it worked perfectly.

And more after!!

The next thing to tackle in that bathroom was the toilet. It had the hardest rust stains that I haven't been able to get rid of for years. I decided that the time had come for me to do something about it. So I turned to Pinterest!

The thing that worked best by far was orange Koolaid. Weird I know!! I sprinkled orange Koolaid packets (5 for $1) on the toilet bowl and left it for a while. After that I used baking soda and vinegar that helped even more! I also rubbed a lemon up in the bowl. Each thing made it better and better and it finally worked!!!! I never knew I could get so excited about a toilet...kind of embarrassing.

And now you've seen a nasty picture of my toilet so I feel like we know each other on another level.

Happy cleaning!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

So Matt and I just got home from the most wonderful vacation in San Francisco and pieces of California surrounding the city. We went there to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. I can't believe a whole year has already gone by! Crazy...If you are planning a trip to California anytime soon, here are a few things that we did that made our trip so much fun:


We stayed at the Sheraton at The Fisherman's Wharf and it was awesome. It is newly redecorated and in an awesome location. I will say that it wasn't fun paying $51 a night to park our rental car...other than that it was wonderful!


Of course we planned this trip much like we planned our honeymoon in NYC...around food. The food in San Fran is so delicious. It's really hard to go wrong. Here are a few places where we ate that are definitely worth a try:

Tarantinos on The Fisherman's Wharf 
This place was so yummy and had a beautiful view of the wharf

Scomas on The Fisherman's Wharf
This place is best known for its fresh seafood. It also had a wonderful view of the ocean.

Espetus in Castro
We ate here on our anniversary. It was a San Franciscan Texas de Brazil. It was all-you-can-eat meat. It was wonderful!

Boudin Bistro and Boudin Cafe on The Fisherman's Wharf
We definitely ate here 3 times...THREE! They have a cafe and bakery downstairs and a Bistro upstairs. All of their bread is made fresh in front of you and it is SO delicious!!

In-n-Out that is pretty much on every corner
Be sure to check out their "secret" menu before you go. Matt had so much fun ordering all of the things that aren't on their regular menu in the store. They have some pretty crazy things on there!

Swiss Louis on Pier 39 at The Fisherman's Wharf
This place has Italian and seafood and the most DELICIOUS drinks! We went once for drinks then again for dinner. I got the bananaberry daiquiri the first time and the tropicolada the second time. SO GOOD!! We also had the most amazing view of them all. We could see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and so many sea lions from our table. All of that at sunset was breathtaking.

John's Grill in Union Square
This place was the best. The steak was perfect and I also got the creamed spinach that just made it all that much better. There's also a $2 parking garage across the street...a very rare find in San Fran.

Dametra Cafe in Carmel by the Sea, CA
This was a delicious Mediterranean cafe in Carmel, which is a beautiful, quaint little town about 2 hours away from San Fran. 

Happy Burger Diner in Mariposa, CA (on the way to Yosemite)
I found this place online before we left on our trip because it had good reviews and it was on our way to Yosemite. It was a strange little place but it was so yummy! They have a very large menu and all of the employees are, well...happy!

Things to do in San Francisco:

Make these reservations ASAP. The spots fill up fast so I wouldn't rely on buying tickets once you get there. I booked our tickets about a month in advance. It was well worth it. So interesting!! My favorite part, however, wasn't the prison there...it was the flowers! The scenery was so beautiful. I could've stayed there all day. It was very windy and cold, though. Definitely bring your jackets and rubber bands for the flying hair.

Pier 39
This place is awesome! It was right around the corner from the hotel. They have SO many shops, restaurants, delicious goodie places, and best of all, SEA LIONS!!! They were everywhere! They're so fun to just sit and watch. There's also an awesome Christmas store here named "Seasons". I love to get Christmas ornaments on our trips so we can hang them on our tree every year. They had some awesome San Fran ornaments. 

Double Decker Bus Tour
We took a 1-day bus tour. They are hop-on hop-off which was awesome! A bus shows up at each destination every 20-30 minutes. It was definitely worth it and only about $30 per person. I would also definitely get off at Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies (the houses in the picture below). There is a wonderful view of the city, also. I have one more thing to say about this...WEAR SUNSCREEN!!! Because it was so chilly and windy, I didn't think about it. We were fried for the whole week. Good times...good times.   

Coit Tower
This was definitely worth the $7. There is an amazing 360 view of the entire city from the top. It was quite the trek to get to the top of the hill to get to the tour...The parking lot is pretty small and the walk is very beautiful but very tiring (at least for me it was). It definitely paid off, though.

Ghirardelli Square
We went here twice! They have the most delicious Ghirardelli chocolate store with the best goodies! The whole vibe is so cozy and we just loved it...and what's better than chocolate??? Nothing! Also, there's a place called Kara's Cupcakes there. It was the most delicious cupcake I think I've ever consumed. I had a chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream and a Ghirardelli chocolate cupcake. Oh my goodness then were both so yummy. Definitely worth going just for that pair with some Ghirardelli hot chocolate.

This place was pretty cool. It was really crowded when we went because we went on a free admission day. I wouldn't recommend doing that. Matt loved it!

This place was very interesting. It's where the hippies thrive. The very first Ben and Jerry's ever is here as well as the house from The Addams Family, the house where Jimmi Hendrix lived for a while, and an awesome Goodwill Store! It was fun to walk down the street and just look.

Adventures Outside of San Francisco:

Marin Headlands
This place was probably my favorite place of all. The view was INCREDIBLE!!! It is on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge on the top of a hill right off of the interstate. There is also an old Civil War war base there from the 1800s...pretty cool!! 

Muir Woods 
This place was beautiful! We look a nice little hike and took 234908 pictures of trees. I couldn't get enough of it. Definitely worth the 30 minute drive across the Golden Gate (and P.S. the drive there was beautiful).

Cupertino, CA
And this...was Matt's favorite part. Who wouldn't want to go to the Apple headquarters of the world? It was a lovely group of office buildings. We went to the company store and Matt was in paradise. I guess it was worth it if you're a serious Apple fan. Cupertino is also the location presented on the "maps" app logo on the Iphone...in case you cared. It was about 30-45 minutes from San Fran and on our way to Carmel.

Carmel by the Sea
This was an adorable little town on the beach. It was about a 2 hour drive from San Francisco. The beach was so pretty but it was VERY windy and VERY cold. It was worth the view, though!

Point Lobos-Sea Lion Cove
This place was INCREDIBLE!!! The views were stunning and there were sea lions everywhere...and you know how I feel about sea lions. This was a 10 minute drive from Carmel. This was probably my 2nd favorite part of the trip. I couldn't get over how pretty it was!

Pixar Animation Studios
This place was pure magic. We didn't even go in the gate, but we didn't have to. It was worth getting the picture. And you can't got without getting a picture acting like the little jumpy lamp from the Pixar ads.

Yosemite National Park
This place was...I have no words. Everything about it was so beautiful. Definitely worth the 4 hour drive from San Francisco. It didn't even look real. We went to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Glacier Point, Tunnel View, and Yosemite Valley/Yosemite Falls. It was $20 to get in the park and we just drove in the south side and left through the west. Everyone should go!

San Francisco literally has it all: beach, city, incredible landscapes, history, forests, etc. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an awesome vacation spot. Just remember to pack warm and take lots of pictures!!