Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another weeknight dish.

Macaroni and cheese!
And a happy Halloween to you!
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Game 6.

xoxo, natty ♥

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Boom it's a béchamel!

In  a move that's entirely inappropriate for a weeknight, I made Smitten Kitchen's sweet potato and chard gratin this evening.
A rich, garlicky, and creamy béchamel sauce is the base. Gruyére is involved as well.

In my defense, I had been meaning to make this for quite a while because of an influx of CSA sweet potatoes. The bags of chard I had purchased {cheater!} were not going to last me much longer so I just went for it, late dinner time be darned.

And it was delicious as it always has been for us, albeit a dish better suited to an evening with a bit more time.

On that note, we're finishing up some NBA action and gearing up for bed; ¡hasta luego!

xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, October 28, 2013

Nice thoughts.

So now it's finally Monday and let's think some good thoughts...
1. On Saturday I saw a Lily Pulitzer Jeep.

2. I'm enjoying a gingerale-club soda mocktail this evening; so refreshing!
3. Yesterday's chili made for most of tonight's easy dinner. And Mikey made goat cheese stuffed mushrooms and peppers, just because; yum!

4. One of these days we'll get ahead on our laundry. It boggles my mind how two of us produce so much but the silver lining here is that one day it will all be done and put away.

5. Monday Night Football and Game 4 of the World Series {go Sox! [Mike's dad is a staunch Bostonian so if it's not the Giants for us it's the Red Sox]}...I love the sound of sports on TV. And starting tomorrow we're in a funny little spot where it could potentially be four major league sports on at once; hockey, baseball, basketball, and football...though hockey gets zero play time in our household.

Bonus #6} I'm looking forward to the holidays. We're in a funky mid-semester {both of us} spot where life is extremely busy and we're not doing the best of jobs at keeping perspective. The holidays make time move faster, bring us to our families, and mean that the school year is actually progressing.

What's good in your life right now? Are you looking forward to anything on the horizon?
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cheese Biscuit.

Someone I was talking with today mentioned having chili for dinner tonight and then it was all over for me.

The chili itself was kind of a hodge podge of beans and stuff from around here but the true star of the dinner was the thing I made to put under the chili; cheesy biscuits.

I used THIS recipe just for the biscuits {not the chili} but omitted jalapeños because I had none. I love that these were so easy to make.

I actually had to work this morning/afternoon {it currently feels like Monday night to me and Monday hasn't even started yet; if that's not cruel and unusual I don't know what is} and hadn't meant to make such an involved dinner but it actually wasn't that bad and three bowls later I'm a happy girl {the last one was small!!!}.

Here's to feeling like it's Monday when it's actually Monday.
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, October 26, 2013

An all time favorite movie.

I also love Ghostbusters II and both were on the tube today.

Are you gearing up for Halloween too?

With my commute and teaching I haven't gotten our place too spooky but we did do our pumpkin last week and we will do another this week too.
xoxo, natty♥

Friday, October 25, 2013

Long week?

Guinness is pooped out tonight.

Perhaps it's a reflection of his roommates but I don't really believe he's that tired considering he lays around all day.
But laying around all weekend? At least we get to do that!!
xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, October 24, 2013

With unlimited...

time, space, and money -
this catalogue would be so much fun.

But I still think it's pretty enjoyable paging through the pretty pictures.

Do you have any picture books {catalogues} you like to look through Reader? When I was wee I would go through and mark with abandon anything I wanted {including size and color specifications} in the hope that some fairy godmother of clothing catalogues {Delia's anyone?} would pick it up and grant me every circled item.'s to weekends and fairy godmothers.
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A good visit.

One of my uncles is in town for a conference and we had a nice visit with him over some Trader Joe's woopie pies tonight.

But I forgot any photographic evidence so imagine chatting, coffee, and chocolate woopie pies. 

And have yourself a lovely end of Tuesday/Wednesday!
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fast times.

I've mentioned it before and I'll say it again; these days go by so quickly!!!
Pillow Dog.
So what's on my mind?

1. We had a great and eventful {for us} weekend out and about with friends and doing fall-ish activities.

2. Thanksgiving plans are a brewing...yum!

3. We also have another trip to Shenandoah in the works.

4. AND a trip out west in about two months!!!

5. The leaves are so pretty right now!

What's up in your life Reader?
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Continuing the theme.

Tonight's autumnal adventure? 
There's one tooth lurking in the orange-y grin.
Pumpkin carving with friends.

We went with what I like to call "The Classic".

Now how to keep this guy good for a few days?

Have a great start to your work week!
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, October 19, 2013


We went to a haunted forest tonight. And boy did I get scared! {it was the men with chainsaws}.
But we had some good {nervous} laughs and a nice time out in the country with friends.
And the proceeds go towards an outdoor education program and I adore outdoor education.

Have you been scared yet this Halloween season?
xoxo, natty ❤

Friday, October 18, 2013

How'd it get to be here already?

It started as a short week but, still, I always think that it was just Monday and Friday is always a happy surprise.
As are cool temperatures and big trees.
Have a great weekend!
xoxo, natty ❤️

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cool breezes.

We're watching some Law & Order with the windows open and it is so.pleasant.

Do you have any small pleasures you enjoy on a Thursday evening?
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


xoxo, natty ♥

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

From last week - Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese.

A quick recipe for my memory's sake; from last week.

I didn't adore how this turned out though it grew on me after a day or too...I also think I may have added in more pasta than called for thus sopping up the good cheese sauce.

The good thing about pumpkin is that it adds fiber and vitamins to your diet so this is the indulgent mixed with some good.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese.
2 cups dried pasta {I used and the original recipe recommend elbows though farfalle or those corkscrew types ones would do really nicely}
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of whole milk
4 ounces shredded Fontina cheese {I used a Gruyére and Swiss mix from Trader Joe's and I used a bit way more than 4 ounces...I found the end result not cheesy enough so this is not the time to be judicious with your cheese...also, maybe Fontina would've reacted better than the mix I used [this just hit me]??}
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin {or the equivalent of your own roasted and pureed at home - check out what I did last year HERE}
1 tablespoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage...if you want it
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese {I used finely grated but that or shredded will do nicely}
1/3 cup chopped walnuts {not for me -- I left these out}
1 tablespoon olive oil {I used the equivalent in butter}

1. Cook pasta according to direction. The sauce whips up pretty quickly so you'll want the noodles to be at-the-ready. I always worry about them congealing but a good shake and then being mixed with the cheese sauce takes care of that.

To make the cheese sauce:

2. Create a roux by sauteing the butter over medium/medium-high heat; I used the dutch oven that I was going to put everything in or you can use a separate pot if you'd like. When the butter starts to turn a wee bit frothy, add in the flour and whisk until you have a slightly golden paste.

3. Immediately add in the milk and cream, along with salt and pepper {I add in a sprinkle of cayenne pepper here}.

4. When the milk has thickened a bit and becomes goopy {in a good way} {usually a few minutes}, add in the cheese and pumpkin {& sage if you want it} and stir until the cheese has melted and you have a nice thick sauce.

5. Add in the pasta...if you made the sauce in its own pot/saucepan then transfer everything to the dish you'll be baking it in

6. Melt the butter and drizzle it over the breadcrumbs and Parmesan; mix to create a little bread crumb-Parmesan concoction that you'll sprinkle over the cheesy pasta. At this point I usually sprinkle some more cheese on top for extra good measure.

7. Bake with no lid on for about half an hour.

8. Add a green veggie on the side and enjoy!!!

Original inspiration HERE.
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, October 14, 2013


My dad and I had a wonderful time today while we explored Baltimore.
And numbers 1 through 5 could be all about how much I loved Soogie.

1. I ♥ Soogie! We visited the Historic Ships of Baltimore maritime museum {really coo and well worth admissionl!} in Baltimore's harbor and on on of the old ships {and old lightship to be exact [a lighthouse on a ship]} there was a mini exhibit on dogs in the Navy/Coast Guard and on U.S. ships. We learned briefly about Soogie's illustrious career and then on the last ship of the museum tour {a huge Coast Guard ship that had been near Pearl Harbor [amongst many things]} there was an interactive aspect where one is able to follow the paw prints on the ground to find Soogie's favorite parts of the ship. In each favorite spot there was a stamp. I missed the first two stamps but thoroughly enjoyed learning about Soogie.

2. The day was beautiful and my dad were so happy to be romping around together.

3. The whole weekend with my pops was a success; yea!!!

4. We had crabcakes at the Lexington Market in Baltimore; yum!

5. We also enjoyed a delicious soul food-inspired dinner at Eatonville.

All in all, this was a truly marvelous day and I'm grateful for my dad's time here with us.

Here's to his safe return to California tomorrow. 
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A new museum.

With the shutdown we had to get creative with our DC exploring for my dad's visit. There are many museums that aren't nationally funded {= you have to pay} so we chose one that wasn't too pricey and seemed interesting to us {my dad loves photography}; the National Geographic Museum

And? It was a great find! For $11 each we got meander around three main exhibits. I kind of loved that we were able to see the whole museum. I love the Smithsonians because you don't need to worry about packing it all in since they're free and most pay museums are too large/expansive to cover in one visit. 

We most enjoyed the main exhibit which focuses on photography by women photo-journalists. This was the greatest because it covered a large variety of topics and there were explanations/back stories for each photo. 

Then we checked out the "Lions, Tigers, and Bears" exhibit which was awesome because it wasn't too big and the pictures were amazing; I loved seeing a spirit bear!

The last part we checked out was an exhibit on the history of the National Geographic. This was cool because it had a ton of different topics covered in not too much detail so it was manageable.

We actually started out the day exploring the Georgetown neighborhood and after the museum we enjoyed dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl.

All in all, it was a great day and I'm sad my dad's leaving soon but we at least get one whole day tomorrow in Baltimore tomorrow!!!
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's been like this.

My dad and I had a great day romping around the monuments today; shutdown be darned. 
And even though we had a nice rain-free afternoon, it's been raining on and off here for three days.

And I'm still not tired of it. The rain can be so pretty. I'm shocked to find myself saying that but after a long and muggy summer, this initial storm is lovely. 

Plus it doesn't hurt that the temperatures have remained mild and we've enjoyed a really nice and cozy evening in with taco and movie night.

Have a good rest of your weekend folks!
xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, October 11, 2013


My dad made it here safely.
And it's Friday.

What more could I ask for?
A nice rest tonight and a full weekend.
Happy Friday!
xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What to do in a shutdown.

I have some GREAT news:

My dad is coming to visit us this weekend!!!!

On the water in San Francisco...we're gonna try to recreate the scene on this other coast.
And the bad news is that the government is still shut down and none of our visitor stand-bys are available.

So we're finding some alternatives {Baltimore! The Spy Museum!}...any thoughts out there?

The weather gods are also throwing some a lot of rain at us but we're intrepid and so so so excited about the next few days.

Here's to some non-government reliant enjoyment!
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


A great dinner tonight, more details to follow!!
Happy it's almost hump-day!
xoxo, natty  ♥

Monday, October 7, 2013


I'm teaching new vocabulary this week...¡muchas palabras nuevas!

Sometimes when I leave for the day I notice that I'm thinking in Spanish. It's not that I'm having conversations in the language all day long but I am saying as much as I can and that's a lot of "very nice"es, etc.. I'll then find myself telling the cars that are making the commute move smoothly <<muy bien>>.

1. Yesterday's excursion was fun and I'm still thinking about being outside in fresh air.

2. The heat broke today and it POURED. With wind and dark, ominous skies. It was beautiful.

3. I think some pumpkin macaroni and cheese is on the agenda this week?

4. And maybe some pumpkin bars/cupcakes/muffins? I've been meaning to get at this for several weeks now and in our fridge there lays a hunk of cream cheese waiting to turn into frosting.

5. This is a hopeful post. My pops is coming to visit us THIS WEEKEND!!!! But let's hope our government gets its act together and opens up stuff; he really wants to go to the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum
Sad words in red.
Here's to hoping.

What's benefiting your life this week friends?
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hot pumpkins.

Today we ushered in Fall with hot and humid weather and a trip to pick apples and pumpkins.
And I loved it!
There were a lot folks out there {it's about 25 miles out of DC but it feels like 250...very country} but there were still plenty of apples to be picked and pumpkins to be had.
The apple orchards are labeled and you can use a wheelbarrow type cart or a hand-held bucket to hold your stash. I recommend the bucket route because if you're pushing a cart it's hard to have a sense of how many apples you're truly picking {versus how many you might actually need/want}. #theresonlysomuchonecandowithtonsofapples
We got a few of each: suncrisp, fuji, and braeburn...and something else I can't remember the name of.

The act of actually picking the fruits is a ton of fun but one only needs so many and by holding the bucket you're able to gauge nicely since you don't want to be schlepping around something that heavy.
And then we hiked over to their pumpkin patch and picked out a good'un.
We visited their animals afterwards but I had already stashed my camera phone in the car so no little piggies for you! But here are some more gourds.
It was a fun way to get out of this shut-down city and enjoy being outside even if it was stifling. 

I also made the Smitten Kitchen's Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats to take along {my tally as of 8 PM tonight is five} - they are SO good.

I hope that you've had chance to do something autumnal, besides drinking pumpkin spice anything .
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A taste of home.

I was running errands in Virginia today and started to feel a scratchy throat. Despite the 90 degrees weather I just wanted Pho.

There are tons of great restaurants in DC {so I hear, we're pretty frugal/too lazy to go out} but there aren't as many hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants as we had in San Jose. Or it could be we just don't know about them?

Anyway, there's one pho place that we know of but it's a hike from where we live but luckily I was smack dab in the middle of a Vietnamese shopping center; it looked and felt like home.
And tasted it too.

 San Jose has a huge Vietnamese population and the food is something I've grown up around, as well as the people, obviously, so I was really happy to poke around this huge shopping center and enjoy a steaming bowl of pho {in the air conditioning}.

I hope that your Saturday was nice too! Tomorrow? Off to apple picking in more hot and humid weather {what is up with that October?}.

xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, October 4, 2013

Green Chicken Chili, in the crock pot.

Update: HERE'S the original recipe's link.
This was last weekend and it was yum-o-rific.

 2 lbs tomatillos husked, washed and dried, and cut in half
10 medium Anaheim peppers, cut in half, seeds removed
1 jalapeño pepper
1 cup diced onion
4 garlic cloves
2 cups roughly chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
Tortilla, beans, and rice for serving, optional


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Put the tomatillos and peppers on a baking sheet or two and roast them until the tomatillos are browning a bit and the peppers are charred. The original recipe calls for 5 to 7 minutes but I ended up with almost 20 minutes in order to get the peppers charred, but it could just be our oven's persnickety-ness.

2. Put the peppers in a plastic bag to sweat for about ten minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag and peel the skins off. If you're wont to avoid stinging/burning hands {& avoid accidentally touching/burning your eyes later}, I suggest wearing gloves - but it's hard to really get those thin skins with gloves on so it depends on where your values lay.

3. Food process {or blend} six of the pepper halves, the tomatillos, jalapeños, onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, paprika, lime zest & juice, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend this until smooth.

4. Dice the remaining peppers and along with the salsa verde mix you just food processed {or blended}, chicken broth, and chicken place it all in the crock pot. Add some more salt and pepper for taste.

5. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours or untill chicken is at least 165 degrees in center of meat.

6. When all is said and done, remove the chicken using a spoon. Take care to get as little juice/sauce. The goal here is to shred the chicken and then return it to the sauce {then you're ready to eat it!}. I loathe shredding chicken with forks and I just learned the "shred your cooked chicken in the kitchen aid mixer with the paddle attachment" trick. It's amazing and it totally works.

I made black beans and rice to go along with this all and it was warm and delicious.

Happy weekend!!!
xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, October 3, 2013

It's October.

And that means pumpkins!
And black kitties!
What does your Thursday look like?
xoxo, natty ❤

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A glorious surprise.

I was having a long and busy afternoon that included several trips in from the car and I was in a snit.
And then there was a Big Box waiting in our lobby for me!

I wonder what's inside?!?
xoxo, natty  ♥