Weekend Update & Meal Plan

Happy Monday Tuesday! This weekend was jam packed, but a good one. On Friday evening we drove up to Petaluma to surprise Roberto’s mom for a very belated birthday celebration. Roberto’s dad was the perfect accomplice, sticking to his undercover role even after we had arrived: “I have no idea what he’s doing here! He almost gave me a heart attack!” An Oscar for Oscar! We went to dinner at The Shuckery in Petaluma and it was awesome! I honestly wanted one of everything on the menu, but we stuck to oysters, ceviche, and calamari for starters and Roberto and I split the Poke Bowl and Fish tacos for dinner.

On Saturday morning we headed back to the city so I could get changed and ready for Roberto’s cousin’s fiance’s bridal shower (ya follow?). It was so beautiful and great to see some of his extended family that we don’t see often. Can’t wait for their wedding this fall! I got her this baking set since I have a real-life obsession with those non-stick pans. Then I headed back to the city just in time to do a quick grocery shop and catch the big fight (whew 100 miles in 12 hours)! Our friends graciously hosted a bunch of us and this Irish lass was really hoping for a McGregor win despite the fact that everyone said it was nearly impossible. All the experts were right, but it was a blast to watch with friends. If you haven’t seen this video, I highly recommend it to pump yourself this week.

We had a lazy Sunday morning and continued powering through Ozark. After promising we’d only watch ‘one more episode’ at least three times, we pried ourselves away to get our prepping for the week done. Once we had most everything cooked up we decided we had to get outside so we went for a quick run before meeting up with friends for dinner at Delarosa (is it even the weekend if we don’t eat here at least once?). Our pals are getting married next week in Baltimore so it was so nice to be able to steal some of their time especially in the midst of their busy week. If you have any recommendations for DC or Baltimore let us know!!!

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 8/28K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Cilantro Lime Quinoa (2/4)K - Birthday Party Potluck (Bringing Watermelon-Tomato Salad)
R - Work Event
Tuesday 8/29K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Cilantro Lime Quinoa (4/4)Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus and Zucchini (2/4)
Wednesday 8/30K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus and Zucchini (4/4)Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers (2/4)
Thursday 8/31K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers (4/4)Dinner at SFO
Friday 9/1Baltimore & DC!Baltimore & DC!Baltimore & DC!

 

Watermelon-Tomato Salad

I’ve already fangirled over this, but it really is that good. After a particularly foggy couple weeks, it’s going to be over 70 here in SF this week and this salad just tastes like summer.

Cost/serving: $1.15

Cals/Fat/Carbs/Protein: 99cals/5.5g/10g/3g

Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Lime-Cilantro Quinoa

I’m clearly really into my new Instant Pot… love that this recipe used practically zero dishes and was so quick. It was also delicious… I could not stop snacking on it while I packed everything up so here’s hoping there is still plenty left in Roberto’s lunch. We used chicken breast instead of thighs since that is just our preference and Roberto made some fajita veggies instead of corn for his bowls (picky picky). We also skipped the tomatoes… mostly out of laziness (just didn’t feel like chopping them up at the end of our prep). We’ve done shredded salsa chicken before, but I feel like the chipotle paste was a game changer (we got ours at Sur la Table).

Cost/serving: $3.96 (my way a.k.a. double the corn)

Cals/Fat/Carbs/Protein: 598cals/93g/13g/54g (my way a.k.a. double the corn)

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus and Zucchini

No, we aren’t having this two-weeks back to back (although that isn’t out of the question). We made the mistake of not prepping it on Sunday last week and surprise surprise after getting home late after work we didn’t feel like cooking so we had a frozen pizza (or two).

Cost/Serving: $2.11

Calories/Fat/Carbs/Protein: 186cals/5g/8g/32g

Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers

In another episode of things we didn’t prep ahead of time and didn’t end up making was the stuffed turkey bell peppers from last week. We ended up grabbing some bison on the fly and making burgers. I like this simple recipe and added some homemade BBQ on top. This week we used the turkey to make… more burgers. If you check-in weekly you know these are a go-to. Roberto puts his own spin on them, but the one linked above was the original inspiration.

Cost/Serving: $1.59/serving

Calories/Fat/Carbs/Protein: 196cals/4.1g/5.3g/34g

Have a great week!

Budgeting 101

Budgeting sounds really simple in practice: track your spending and make sure it’s less than your income. But if it were that easy, the average American wouldn’t have over $16,000 in credit card debt and we’d all have plenty saved for retirement. Budgets have gotten a bad rap as being synonymous with restriction, but if you’ve read my ‘About Me‘ you this is not a blog about extreme frugality or coupon clipping. Money is a limited resource so budgeting just comes down to choices… you can have anything, but not everything. Your budget shouldn’t scare you, it should empower you. Your goal is to be in charge of your money and not vice versa.

The first step is to ensure you have a good grasp on what your true take-home income is. Unfortunately, that salary that you negotiated for (you did negotiate right?!) isn’t what you get to take home with you. After taxes, social security, healthcare premiums, 401(k) contributions, etc. you may be bringing home a lot less bacon than what you expected. This is just another friendly reminder to ensure that your tax withholdings are up to date. If your taxes are under-withheld (i.e. you pay less than you owe) you’ll end up having to write a check that you may not have budgeted for. On the other hand, if you pay more than you owe and get a refund, you may be bummed to find out that you could have afforded that girls weekend you skipped after all.

Once you have a good idea of what you get after taxes and deductions comes the hardest part: doing some detective work on where that money goes. There’s no one way to do, but I think fewer and fewer people are balancing a checkbook as technology advances. Personally, I absolutely love Mint, but I know it’s not the only option out there. I’ve also tried Personal Capital and I’m currently testing out You Need a Budget (YNAB). I’m planning to compare and review them all in the near future so stay tuned. The most important thing is to pick a system and stick to it. The easiest expenses to nail down are those fixed costs that don’t change month to month; for example, you probably already know what you’re paying for rent, that Netflix subscription, and your gym membership. On the other hand, items like groceries, dining out, shopping, and your gas and electric bill may vary seasonally. Ideally, I’d take at least a 3-month look back and in a perfect world, I’d use a year. Why? You want to capture lumpy items such as increased spending for gifts around the holidays or maybe more travel in the spring, etc. to come up with an annual average.

Once you know what your income is and what you’re spending you’ve got a few questions to answer. Are you spending less than you’re making? If not, no sweat, just the fact that you’re starting to organize your finances is a step in the right direction. Your next task is to figure out where you can reprioritize your spending, which leads me to my next question which is much more objective: are you spending your values?

When I meet with clients they often want to know if their spending is “normal.” The problem with that question is that there is no right answer. What is important to one person may not matter for another. For example, travel may be incredibly important to Eliza and she may be willing to pack her lunch and skip a cable subscription in order to take a couple fabulous trips each year. On the other hand, Angelica may prefer to make her clothes last a few extra seasons in order to eat at the best restaurants in town and have that iced caramel macchiato every morning. Neither of those is better or worse than the other they are just different and a reflection of each person’s values. Now if you tell me travel is really important to you, but you haven’t taken a trip in a year and your detective work tells you that you’re spending a good chunk on a morning coffee it’s time to course correct. Or maybe you’ve decided that craft cold brew really is something you can’t give up. That’s totally fine so long as you know that it may be at the expense of that weekend trip to Sonoma. The choice is yours to make, and you’re in charge!

With all that said, I don’t necessarily think spending is a total free for all. If Eliza wakes up at age 65 with a passport full or stamps (hoorah!), but has zero savings and is going to have to work until age 90 and doesn’t have medical or disability insurance I’m not into that. I’m personally a fan of the 50/30/20 approach which dictates that no more than 50% of your after-tax take home pay goes to necessities, 30% goes to flexible or discretionary spending, and 20% goes to savings.

Necessities (50%)

Think your home, utilities, food, transportation and clothing for your job (notice I didn’t say for brunch), insurance, and minimum debt payments, etc. These are the things that you absolutely must pay for. As with everything, there’s wiggle room… you may be willing to rent a studio instead of a one bedroom so you can buy lunch at work rather than bringing it. But I also don’t think you should live here and eat all your meals at Saison. Or maybe you’d rather take Lyft to the office instead of the bus, but that means you’re grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s instead of Whole Foods (but actually I love TJs and think I would shop there even if I had been the Powerball Winner). Of course, this 50% is the maximum amount so by all means you could spend less on necessities and save more.

Discretionary (30%)

This is where the fun stuff comes in! Vacation, shopping, meals out, cough*Warriors games*cough. Now there are some items in this category that I would consider a gray zone or near necessities like a cell phone. You might need one for work, but you certainly don’t need a huge data plan so you can stream constantly (as Roberto likes to remind me whenever we get a friendly alert from Verizon). You’ll also notice I included meals out which I do treat differently than the necessity of groceries or grabbing a sandwich for lunch at work. Everyone may have a different view on how to delineate those wants vs. needs, but it’s up to you to create your own rules and follow them. This is the category where Roberto and I’s “allowance” or “fun money” comes in (if you haven’t read about how we merged our finances see here). The majority of our discretionary spending is on joint items that benefit us both: vacations, date night, entertainment, etc. But we also have an allotment that is ours to save or spend however we please. I have no idea what Roberto spends his on (jk jk I do, it’s totally watches), but mine goes to my gym membership which Roberto doesn’t categorize as a need since he just runs outside, getting my hair done, dinner and drinks with just my girlfriends, etc.

Savings (20%)

Last and most definitely not least is savings. Here’s the dealio: you should be saving for something for your future and in some cases this may mean saving yourself money on interest by paying down debt. I’m going to talk more about savings once we move past budgeting but it could be for anything from an emergency savings, to a down payment, to retirement, etc. This doesn’t mean that when your emergency savings is fully funded you get to spend this 20% either. Start saving for something else. Also, while the 50% and 30% recommendations for the categories above are intended to be the maximum, nobody is stopping you from saving more! So by all means skip the Uber, walk to work, and tackle your student debt if you’re able.

 So a few questions for you:

  • Are you spending your values?
  • Do you feel like you know what you spend?
  • What’s your favorite software/app for tracking your spending?

Cuba Travel Guide: Cayo Santa Maria


Cayo Santa Maria is one of many islands in an island chain off the northern coast of Cuba. It was our last big stop in our itinerary and we were so happy that we had organized our trip to end in some good old R&R. We stayed at the Royalton Cayo Santa Maria which is an all adults-only all inclusive resort (like many on the islands). Upon check-in, we were greeted with a welcome drink at the bar and introduced to our ‘butler’ who showed us around the property and assisted us with dinner reservations.

We were at the resort for two nights (after having to cancel our third night due to lack of funds?) and spent 100% of our time doing our best rancho relaxo. We arrived in time for lunch on our first day and I immediately ordered the burger (forgive me travel gods, but it was excellent ??). For the rest of the afternoon, we just lounged by one of their the pools and I continued to devour The Handmaid’s Tale. That night we ate at Eggsellence (yes that is the name ?), which is the more casual of the two restaurants at the resort. Here we met our favorite waitress, Dianelis, who was thrilled to have a Spanish speaker in Roberto (99.99% of visitors at the resort are Canadian… more on that later). After dinner, we enjoyed a rum and a cigar and watched the entertainment for the night: a Michael Jackson themed dance show. Roberto used this time to make friends with one of the employees and get caught up on the Cuban National Series (I hear it was a nail-biter). That night they were having a ‘white party’ in town that sounded like a blast, but we headed to bed to rest up for another full day of relaxing.

The next morning we headed down to the island’s famous beach and it did not disappoint; the white sands and crystal blue water are hands down the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. We went for a quick little jog along the water to check out the other resorts and agreed that our beach and view were best. After breakfast and freshening up we headed into ‘town’ to pick up some sunscreen for the day.

Now, this town is not a real town. And because I had just watched Westworld and couldn’t stop making references to it I insisted that this town looked like Sweetwater. It’s full of pastel buildings that are identical with big generic signs: “Gym”, “Spa”, and our soon to be favorite: “Bolera.” It was a trip. We visited a couple shops for souvenirs and a few odds and ends but didn’t spend much time here. If you were staying at the resort for longer and got sick of their restaurants you could come here for other cuisines such as Sushi or Italian at the ‘Trattoria’ (the closest real town, Remedios, is about 45 minutes away). This fake town gave me the heebie jeebies a little (if you want to see pics see here). We found a little “Market” and were promptly informed that it would be 25 CUC for sunscreen. That was roughly the cost of a meal and we were still hoping to make our little remaining funds last for the next 24-48 hours so we skipped it. I’ll let you guess how that turned out. Be better than us guys (everything you need to know is here).

We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the beach, alternating between taking our chances with the sun, hiding in the shade, and dunking in the cool blue ocean. Pro-tip: the quesadillas are an excellent afternoon snack you can grab right from the beach bar along with your Cuba Libre. Also pro-tip: the noseeums on the beach are no joke. Do not underestimate these invisible buggers. I think if Roberto had known that we’d itch for weeks following this trip he would have broken his ‘no checked bags’ rule just so we could bring bug spray. So come prepared! I’ve also heard taking Vitamin B for a few weeks beforehand works, but who knows. When we couldn’t take the sand anymore, but still wanted to enjoy the view of the beautiful turquoise water we took advantage of the free catamaran rides the resort offered. It was so much fun and such a great way to see the whole coastline!

That night we ate at the fancier of the two restaurants, Senses, which was supposed to have more of a global flair. The service was excellent which was what we had come to expect from everyone at the resort. We mentioned to our waitress that we loved the glass of wine we were served with dinner, and when we returned to our room found that they had sent a bottle for us to enjoy. Such nice attention to detail and a sweet little touch. After dinner, we headed into town for a bowl off. We were the only ones there and it was some good cheap thrills. If you’re following along with me on Instagram you saw Roberto and his whole team went bowling a couple weeks ago because he hasn’t stopped talking about his pin prowess ever since he got a round on me.On our last day, we stayed at the resort for as long as possible soaking up the sun and enjoying a few free/already paid for/all-inclusive meals before heading for Santa Clara. We had originally planned to stay at the resort the third night and drive to the airport in Santa Clara the next morning, but when we ran short on funds the easiest thing to do was to cancel the night and stay in Santa Clara for a tenth of the cost.

Final Words

Cayo Santa Maria was absolutely beautiful and we had a great experience at the Royalton, but it certainly isn’t an “authentic” Cuban experience. Locals don’t actually live on the island and there were no other Cubans staying at the resort (my guess is either because they either can’t afford it or they aren’t allowed…they were checking passports on the way onto the islands). Like I said, almost everyone at our resort was from Canada.

The island is about 4-5 hours away from Havana by car. There are also flights, but we didn’t have enough confidence in our ability to figure that out and because we were coming from Trinidad we weren’t quite as far. If you don’t have that much time in your travel budget check out Playa Ancon near Trinidad. If you aren’t planning to stray from Havana (although I think you should!), Varadero is a very popular resort town as well and half as far. If you are braver than us and willing to take a domestic flight, check out Playa Paraiso on Cayo Largo which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

What’s the most beautiful beach you’ve ever been to??

 

Weekend Update & Meal Plan

Happy Monday! We had the b.e.s.t. weekend visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Seattle. The last time we saw them was Thanksgiving and Roberto was doing his first round of Whole30 so it has definitely been a while since they were able to actually enjoy his company. We flew up Thursday after work and they took the day off on Friday to hang with us. We visited a bunch of delicious restaurants and went on an epic hike, so I’ll post a round up soon since we bounced around a few of the suburbs outside of Seattle and the Emerald City itself. We were delayed at Sea-Tac yesterday so we had plenty of time to get our meal plan and grocery list organized. All I wanted to do was get in bed when we got home (those Rivera sibs tuckered us out), but we soldiered on to TJs so we’d have a good start on our week. It was a total nightmare and they were out of a lot of a lot of the things we normally grab which reminded us why we always shop on Saturday or first thing Sunday.

Last week we were trying to figure out how much money we actually save by making our meals since our company has a cafeteria that is pretty cheap (we’re able to get hot meals or a salad for under $5 compared to $10+ anywhere else). I like knowing what is in the meals we make and I’m not sure I could do the salad bar five days a week, but we wanted to know if we were saving that much. We decided to do a quick and dirty calculation to get an idea of the cost of each meal. I’m excluding anything we had in our pantry/fridge/freezer such as EVOO, tomato paste, frozen green onions, seasoning etc. and didn’t get fancy enough to factor in the value of our time. With the exception of the Salmon, all of our meals are under $3/serving so that’s pretty tough to beat even with our very affordable cafeteria. When I compare it to what we spend on Starbucks breakfast and coffee it’s not even close. I’m also adding in the calorie and macro information if you’re curious since we normally put it in MyFitnessPal anyway. Let me know if it’s helpful or you have questions!

Here’s the plan:

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 8/21K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Leftover 15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls (2/2)Sous Vide Salmon with Cauliflower Mash (2/4)
Tuesday 8/22K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers (2/4)Sous Vide Salmon with Cauliflower Mash (4/4)
Wednesday 8/23K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers (4/4)Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus and Zucchini (2/4)
Thursday 8/24K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach, Chicken, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad (2/4)Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus and Zucchini (4/4)
Friday 8/25K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese FrittataSpinach, Chicken, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad (2/4)Date Night <3 (surprisingly NOT sushi)

Breakfast

I absolutely loved my frittata last week so we’re stickin’ with that for now. Roberto’s been having the same breakfast for 6 months so no change there…

Cost/Serving of K’s Breakfast: $1.98

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 242cals/14g/21g/6g

Cost/Serving of R’s Breakfast: $2.85

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 320cals/10g/26g/34g

Leftovers

Roberto had a couple work lunches come up last week so we have these bowls left over. They were SO good. Highly recommend.

No cost cause I don’t have the receipt from last week ?

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 403cals/4g/41g/51g

Sous Vide Salmon with Cauli Mash

My coworker recently posted a video of her cooking dinner in a plastic bag submerged in hot water and I was intrigued immediately. When I asked her for the deets I was disappointed to find out the device was $200, so I put it into my mental “save for” bucket. But then I saw this article pop up and decided I’d be willing to invest for under $100. Sous vide is the process of cooking food in vacuum sealed bags in a temperature controlled water bath and is famous for its ability to cook food evenly (i.e. ensuring the middle is cooked without drying out or overcooking the outside). I looked at a few recipes to get the gist of it and combined my fillets with salt, EVOO, and a few sprigs of thyme. We’re having it tonight so I’ll report back!

Cost/Serving: $4.53

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 246cals/13g/31g/13g

Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers

We’ve been doing a lot of meatballs and turkey burgers lately so we’re switching it up this week. I like this recipe but Roberto normally puts his own spin on it. He insists cooking the peppers before filling them with turkey cuts down on how watery the peppers can be. We haven’ prepped these yet so I’ll have to come back and refine how he ends up actually making them.

Cost/Serving: $2.76

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 293cals/10g/39g/13g

Spinach, Strawberry, Chicken, and Goat Cheese Salad

Yup, we’re doing this again. We were delayed getting home last night and just needed something quick and easy to fall back on. It’s a family fave: Roberto grills the chicken with his magic mix of spices and I hull and chop the strawberries. That’s it.

Cost/Serving: $2.80

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 215cals/4g/30g/11g

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus and Squash

If you read weekly you know this is one of R’s go-tos. The main ingredients for the marinade are Dijon and rosemary, but I couldn’t give you exact ratios (promise I’m working on getting the deets to the secret sauce!!!). Pre-Roberto my go-to was always this fig balsamic one from Skinnytaste since I always had both ingredients in the cupboard.

Cost/Serving: $2.11

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 186cals/5g/32g/8g

This is actually lighter on calories than I realized so maybe we’ll add some quinoa.

Have a great week and let me know if you think we should try!

Weekend Update & Meal Plan

Happy Monday… er Tuesday… little behind over here as usual! This weekend, one of Roberto’s best friends from college came to visit on Friday night with his girlfriend. Even though they’re only a couple of hours away we hadn’t seen them in over 6 months. We put out feelers for what they wanted for dinner earlier in the week and to our delight they chose sushi, which just happens to be our regular Friday night routine. Instead of ordering for pickup or delivery which is our m.o. we headed to our neighborhood favorite, Naked Fish, for a tableful of rolls and nigiri. After dinner, we headed back to our place where Roberto whipped up some Kentucky Mules and we queued up pics from our trip to Peru and Colombia. Our friends are 6,000 times more athletic and outdoorsy so in turn, they showed us incredible pictures from Mt. Whitney. Ever since Roberto and I did the Inca Trail, he’s been trying to convince me to take on the highest summit in the US and seeing some of their incredible photos is making me reconsider the hike. We ended the night watching Valley Uprising, an awesome documentary about the climbing counterculture in Yosemite National Park that began in the late 1950s.

We woke up on Saturday and after grabbing some emergency coffee we headed straight to Rose’s for brunch. Amazingly, I had only been to the local café once before despite the fact that it’s a neighborhood staple and just a block away from our church. They are famous for their breakfast pizza, but I went for their Chicken-Tarragon Sausage with Poached Eggs, Polenta, and Spicy Tomato Sauce. SO. GOOD. I’ll be looking for an at home Shakshouka recipe to try to replicate this deliciousness. After digesting we all headed out for a quick run with these fitness freaks and I could barely keep up with the crew.

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing chores and grocery shopping. We recently got rid of a couple bookcases that were seriously messing with our Feng Shui. They were also conveniently holding boxes and boxes of my childhood relics so I spent a majority of Saturday afternoon going through high school homework (and watching Scandal). I am such a hoarder… I got rid of a lot, but still saved some Spanish homework I’m hoping to show off to Roberto and some adorable cursive lessons I’m thinking of framing since they just look so silly and outdated. We ended the day with takeout from Delarosa (pancetta pizza and crab arancini obvi) and watched 13th on Netflix. This documentary has been on my must watch list for a while, but after the hatred, racism, and violence that we saw in Charlottesville this weekend, I was feeling the need to educate myself on the institutionalized racism in this country. It was eye-opening and a must watch if you haven’t seen it. Ideas for what you can actually do to help are here.

The beauty of getting our shopping done on Saturday is that we got right to meal prepping after grabbing coffee and breakfast on Sunday morning rather than cooking late into the night which is what usually ends up happening. We ended with a 4-mile walk up and over the Lyon Street steps which is always our favorite way to get out of the house and end the weekend.

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 8/7K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Leftover Spinach, Chicken, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad (2/2)Leftover Pasta (2/2)
Tuesday 8/8K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls (2/6)Roberto's Turkey Meatballs and Green Beans (2/4)
Wednesday 8/9K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls (4/6)Roberto's Turkey Meatballs and Green Beans (4/4)
Thursday 8/10K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls (6/6)Travel Meal
Friday 8/11Seattle!Seattle!Seattle!

Breakfast

I have been in a major breakfast rut. My AM salad attempt was a major failure. I think if I could throw a poached egg over some lettuce on the weekend I’d be more into it, but I just didn’t dig it as a make-ahead meal. I went back to my frittata roots this weekend and I was not disappointed in my mix… this week I went with broccoli, green onions, turkey, and goat cheese (which is a recurring theme in my life right now tbh).

Leftovers

How’d we end up here if we planned our meals last week? We grilled the chicken for our salads but hadn’t put everything together in easy grab and go containers and so of course when we were running late (as usual) on Thursday we just couldn’t get it together. On Friday I just brought the whole dang bag of spinach to work and WW helped me hull and chop the strawberries in the kitchen at the office (I shared my lunch with her of course). Roberto was too busy to eat ? so we still had two servings leftover for lunch yesterday. Still delish! On Sunday night Roberto whipped up some quick pasta with broccoli, frozen langostino, mushrooms, and alfredo. We made enough servings for us to have last night so we wouldn’t need to make a whole other meal.

15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls

This recipe showed up in my Instagram feed last week and looked so good I immediately saved it to try. The recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, but I obviously wanted to put my new Instant Pot to the test so I took my friend Summer’s advice and within ten minutes had perfectly moist shredded chicken for this dish (I got extra chicken to stretch this into 6 servings). Our new chopper made the cukes a breeze and everything else came together equally as fast. So excited for this lunch today!

Roberto’s Turkey Meatballs and Green Beans

I’ve mentioned these 100 times. So good. Not so secret ingredient: Tomasso’s (we literally bought three jars this week just in casers).

We are off to Seattle this weekend to visit my brother-in-law and sister-in-law (there has to be a shorter grammatically correct way to say that…) so it’s a short week!

Have a good one and as always send any must-try recipes my way!

 

Weekend Update & Meal Plan

Happy Monday… hope you had a great weekend! After trying out Mac’d with friends on Wednesday and hitting up Mission Bowling Club on Thursday with Roberto’s coworkers we were pooped by Friday night (homebody alert). We skipped our normal sushi dinner routine and pretty much got right in bed when we got home. On Saturday we had a family party to celebrate Roberto’s grandfather’s birthday and say farewell to his cousin who’s leaving us for LA. Roberto has lots of family locally, but with everyone’s schedule we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like. These parties are always a good opportunity to see everyone and for Roberto to catch up on some razzing with his cousins. From there we raced back to the city so I could meetup with a couple girlfriends for dinner. One of my bestest friends from college was in town and I hadn’t seen her since our wedding over two years ago (shameful!!!). We headed to Causwells for their famous burger and it was sooo good to catch up. Love it when it feels like no time has passed even when it’s been (way) too long. Love you Macca!
We spent yesterday doing our usual Sunday routine: grocery shopping & meal prepping. We also made the mistake of starting Ozark and got immediately sucked in. I am even more obsessed with Julia Garner after recognizing her from my other current TV obsession:  The Americans (see here).

Anywho, here’s what we’re eating this week:

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 8/7K - Let's be real I had a Chorizo breakfast sandwich from Starbucks this AM #noregrets
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers & Roberto's Shepherd's Salad (2/4)Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower & Peas (2/6)
Tuesday 8/8K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers & Roberto's Shepherd's Salad (4/4)Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower & Peas (4/6)
Wednesday 8/9K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Thai Coconut Shrimp Curry with Spicy Green Beans (2/4)Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower & Peas (6/6)
Thursday 8/10K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach, Goat Cheese, Strawberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad (2/4)Thai Coconut Shrimp Curry with Spicy Green Beans (4/4)
Friday 8/11K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach, Goat Cheese, Strawberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad (2/4)Dinner with Friends!

Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers and Roberto’s Shepherd’s Salad

I never got around to making the skinny tzatziki last week so we had a bunch of cucumbers to use up. We were originally planning on having these stuffed peppers, but went for something a little more Mediterranean to go with Roberto’s Salad (cukes, tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, olive oil). I’ve mentioned this recipe 100 times. Not a ton of ingredients, super delish, grill ’em up and throw some avocado on top. Roberto also got this chopper to speed up his breakfast hash (potatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, etc.) and it came in super handy for all the cukes (we’re kinda obsessed).

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower and Peas

Gina posted a picture of this recipe on her Instagram last week and I immediately mentally bookmarked it for our meal plan this week. The only problem? I didn’t have a pressure cooker. I ran out and grabbed this one yesterday and dove right in. The hardest part of the recipe was measuring out all the spices, but after that it was super quick. You can also make this on the stove top if you double the cooking time, or this slow cooker one from my Whole30 days is great. We’re planning to have this over TJ’s frozen brown rice. Let me know if you have good pressure cooker recipes… so excited to see what this bad boy can do!

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp and Spicy Green Beans

This is another go-to we hadn’t done in a while. Works out well if you’re doing the Chicken Tikka Masala since neither recipe uses a full can of coconut milk on their own. We get the microwaveable green beans from TJs and then Roberto seasons them with some red pepper flakes. So good.

Spinach, Goat Cheese, Strawberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad

Roberto picked out every single blackberry from one of his salads last week after realizing he “doesn’t like blackberries in salad.” Alrightyyyyyy then. So we doing this classic combo. Fast, easy, goat cheese. I picked up these little squeeze bottles since the tiniest piece from this set wasn’t cutting it. Also debating getting these… too extra?

Do you have any awesome instant pot recipes? If so, please share!!!

Cuba Travel Guide: Trinidad

When I think back on our trip, Trinidad definitely represents a turning point for me. Despite the fact that Vinales was an absolute highlight and we loved Havana, those first few days of our trip were stressful as we spent unnecessary time trying to figure out our options for obtaining funds (you can read all about that here). We stopped very briefly in Cienfuegos on our way to Trinidad and I wish we had more time! I would have absolutely stayed a night or at least enjoyed a meal, but we had to keep traveling so we wouldn’t arrive in Trinidad too late. I’m including a few of my favorite pictures from this quick stop because it was so incredibly beautiful. We were there right as a huge storm was rolling in along with a fiery sunset. One of my favorite memories from the trip was watching these kiddos learn to box on the beach:

Stay

A large part of what made our stay in Trinidad so incredible was the hospitality we were offered at Dr. Suarez and Senora Addys lovely casa particular. We hadn’t felt that the staff at our hotel in Havana was particularly helpful which only added to our anxiety so when we arrived late from a day of travel and were greeted so warmly by our hosts it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. It also didn’t hurt that Dr. Suarez is… a doctor… so he had antibiotic ointment and band-aids which relieved Roberto’s worries about me losing my legs (again… the misadventures are all here). So if it’s not incredibly obvious I cannot recommend this hostel enough. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

  1. They had internet access which is a true luxury. Sure you still need your ETECSA card to actually access it, but it means your ability to get online isn’t limited to a street corner.
  2. They served a truly amazing breakfast. Our go-to was omelets filled to the brim with whatever cheese was available and ham accompanied by plates of fresh fruit (of course).
  3. Senora Addys and her staff were able to scrub our dirt covered clothes from Vinales back to life. My converse hadn’t been so white since the day I bought ’em.

You can book with them directly or through Airbnb. I think we were actually turned down on our first attempt (by our I mean Roberto’s since he has the full-time job of the family travel agent), but he tried another avenue and we were so happy to be confirmed.

If you don’t want to stay in a casa particular, the Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad is centrally located and absolutely beautiful (although it’s at least 10-20x the price). After waiting in a standstill line for a wifi card at ETECSA for at least 30 minutes we took refuge in their gorgeous lobby bar. They sold us the internet cards at cost with the purchase of a drink which we enjoyed along with their air conditioning and pineapple chandelier (how do I commission one of these?). We returned later that night to enjoy a cigar while we watched the Warriors game in their smoking salon (haaave I mentioned my husband loves sports?).

Eat and Drink

  • Sol y Son: The indoor of this restaurant is really gorgeous and full of antique treasures. It’s housed in a home that was built in the 1830s and still has all of the charms from that era. We were seated in the courtyard to dine which was lovely in the balmy weather. We got some ridiculous fruity cocktails (I think mine was blue… when in Cuba?), but I honestly don’t remember what we ate. We had a nice dinner and the ambiance was lovely, but it certainly wasn’t our best meal of the trip.
  • Restaurante San Jose: The line here is totally warranted. We showed up to put our name on the list and there were already people waiting outside (they don’t accept reservations). You can order drinks while you wait on the street and people watch/chat with other diners. It wasn’t long before we were seated and finally got to try their insane lobster dish. 100% worth it and would definitely go back.

  • Pizza: Roberto and I initially felt guilty about this and totally abstained in Havana since it’s our go-to at home and felt so touristy, but pizza is everywhere in Cuba. Check out this amazing story about a pizzeria in Havana! We stumbled upon this cute little place that I, of course, can’t find now, but it was the perfect snack mid-afternoon. So don’t be afraid to dabble, it’s what the locals do ?

  • The Best Mojito: I’ve spent more time on Google Maps than I’d care to admit trying to find this place for you guys (street view isn’t quite what it is in the US). I wrote about it in our one-week itinerary, but it bears repeating that this isn’t just a marketing ploy…. this actually was one of the best mojitos we had in Cuba. Grab one and enjoy it while you watch the sun set over Trinidad… pure magic and such a sweet memory ? All the little bars in the area are basically to-go shops that will serve you drinks out of the window… you’ll find this one at the base of the stairs next to the Church of the Holy Trinity.

  • Disco Ayala: Like so many other stories in my life, this one also begins with sports. The Iberostar closed before the Warriors game was over, but the staff told us that there was a resort at the very tippy top of the hill in town that also got this special sports channel. (Reality check this was not the playoffs… just one regular old game of eighty plus). On our way to this resort, we passed all these little bar carts where groups of revelers had stopped to chat and sample mojitos. At the time, we didn’t even know where we were headed, but we couldn’t believe it when we stumbled on a huge line of people waiting outside of what appeared to be a cave. I so regret that we didn’t go inside for a night of dancing, but the line was long and we had had a long day. If you do go (and you should!) wear sensible shoes because it’s a long walk uphill along cobblestone streets! Even just the little bars along the way are fun. We stopped for a chat and mojito on our way home and as our bartender told us about his life he mentioned that his brother had moved to El Salvador (where Roberto’s family is from)… such a small world!

See & Do

  • Casa de Musica: This is the famous outdoor music venue right next to the above-mentioned stairs. You can do the Cuban version of bottle service and buy a bottle and mixers for your table or just grab a drink and squeeze into a spot on the stairs to watch… if you have enough liquid courage you may even join in (my hiney stayed firmly planted in my seat)! Roberto wants me to reiterate that this is a MUST DO!

  • Plaza Mayor: This is really the heart of Trinidad. From here you can watch the sunset and wander the nearby alleys where you’ll find men playing dominos in the street. Be sure to stop here to soak it all in. It’s also where you’ll find the internet…

  • Pedicab Tour: Señora Addys and Dr. Suarez organized this for us (again… angels ?) and it was a great way to see a lot of Trinidad in a short amount of time. Notable stops included Casa del Alfarero where we had the opportunity to see pottery being made (I think they even offer lessons!) and a cigar factory in town.

  • Calle Desengaño: We rode down this street on our pedicab tour and had to come back to revisit all the brightly colored ‘Punto de Venta’s selling fresh juices, produce, and meat. We spent at least an hour just strolling down this street, watching families shop, and kids get haircuts on their front porches

  • Ancon Beach: When we were planning our trip and trying to figure out where to squeeze in some beach time we considered visiting Ancon Beach which is a quick bike ride from Trinidad. We ended up skipping it and visiting Cayo Santa Maria which I’ll cover next week, but if we had more time I would have loved to check it out. Would be a great choice if you don’t have time for an additional stop in your itinerary.
  • Salto de Caburni: I wanted to stop at these waterfalls on the way from Havana, but we just ran out of daylight. Assuming you’re leaving from Havana with a driver definitely coordinate a visit on your way. You can also organize a day trip from Trinidad if you have the time. It’s only about 30 minutes outside the city, but we only had one full day in Trinidad so we stayed close to town.
  • Romance Museum: OK this is cheeseball, but we totally would have visited if they hadn’t been closed when we were there.

If you have time to explore outside of Havana, promise me you won’t miss Trinidad! 

Bullish On: July

Rabbit, rabbit ??! Happy August! I’m bringing back these ‘Bullish On’ posts to round up everything I loved in July:

The Americans

I’m definitely late on this one, but it feels extra relevant given the constant news about Russia lately (at least this version is pretend). The show is set in the early 80s and revolves around two married KGB agents living the suburban life with their two children right outside of Washington D.C. It was actually partially based on real life spies that were discovered living in New Jersey in 2010. It’s a constant thriller and Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys make a great team (on the show and in real life!).

Bluetooth Headphones

In my imaginary life I have these awesome rose gold wireless headphones, but in my real life where I have a budget (and most likely can’t pull off such fancy pants headphones), I have these. I finally gave up the battle of charging vs. listening to music & podcasts (thanks for nothin’ Apple!) and decided I needed to get a pair of wireless headphones. These were highly rated on Amazon and under $40 and they’ve been perfect for everything from my commute to runs.

Aveeno 60 Second In-Shower Facial

I shared my skincare favorites back in April and I’m still using all the same goodies, but I recently added this face wash/treatment to my routine. I picked it up on a whim since it was so cheap and I’m long overdue for a visit to Amanda. This definitely isn’t a replacement for a traditional facial, but it’s a nice pick me up a couple times a week. I’ll use it if I’ve slacked on my skincare routine for a night or two or if I want a refresh and don’t have time for a 15-minute mask. I convinced work wife to try it too and she’s equally addicted.

Hidden Bodies

Okay, this is technically the sequel so obviously read You first, but this series is so creepy and delightful. I read ‘You’ on our trip to Ireland last year and I have no idea why I waited so long to pick up the sequel. I couldn’t put it down and as soon as I finished I started looking for details on a third book. At first, I was disappointed that it didn’t sound like Joe Goldberg was headed for a trilogy, but they are making the series into a Lifetime drama so you know I’ll be there for that. Let me know your sushi order and I’ll save you a seat ?

Scraping by on $500k a Year

This isn’t a new story, but it’s new to me. It takes a look at a couple making $500,000 in New York and how it’s possible that they’re only ending up with an annual ‘excess’ of $7,300 after all of their expenses. Given the high cost of living in the Bay Area, this definitely feels like a story you could read about locally. So, what are your thoughts? Do you feel sympathy for these young professionals who are making a half million dollars a year and still feel average? Roberto and I are currently working on analyzing our budget for the first half of the year to give ourselves a reality check on where our money is going and this was definitely a good reminder that it’s not how much you make, but how much you save…

Weekend Update & Meal Plan

Happy Sunday… hope you’ve had a great weekend! We were pretty low-key over here. We stayed in on Friday and spent so long trying to decide what movie to watch that it got too late to watch a movie. Are we the only people this happens to? The indecision is real. Let me know if you have any recs for good flicks that are streaming. We’re always afraid to start a new TV series late at night for fear that we’ll stay up till 4 am watching the whole first season, but I feel like I have way more must see TV on my list than movies these days.

I went to a new workout class yesterday morning (Shockwave at Equinox!) and I’m already sore. I ate healthy for like two hours immediately following so I’m waiting for that six-pack to come in any minute now. Speaking of six packs… queso. We had to cancel Tuesday’s date night, but we made up for it last night with tacos and margs (and obviously a bowl of aforementioned melted cheese) at Tacolicious. We hadn’t been since they moved locations a year ago which is a miracle since we used to order it every dang week for football Sundays. It was also the currency we used to pay our friends to help us paint our house when we first moved in (thank you, friends!!!). It was just as delicious as I remembered with less of the dark cramped feel of their old spot. We ended the night watching John Wick 2. I would never have picked this in a million years, but we watched it with my brother and sister in-laws for Thanksgiving almost two years ago. Well, they watched it and I fell asleep immediately…blame the tryptophan, not poor Keanu. When we saw the second one had been released Roberto insisted I rewatch the original so we could see the sequel. It’s super over the top action packed (and gory!!!) in an almost hilarious way, but both films are 85-90% on Rotten Tomatoes so I’m not the only one who can’t look away from this B-movie series.

Earlier this afternoon I met up with my friend Sara who I haven’t seen in 6,000 years since she’s been off traveling and pretty much just living her best life. We went to Off the Grid’s Presidio Picnic and shared an empanada from El Sur. She also gave me her leftover Chicken Biryani from DUM Truck which I inhaled the minute I got home. So good. Thank you, Sasa! We’re spending the rest of the evening cooking for the week and here’s what’s on deck:

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 7/31K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Greek Meatballs with Greek Salad and Pita and Hummus (2/4)Salmon with Green Goddess Dressing and Bacon Brussels Sprouts (2/4)
Tuesday 8/1K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Greek Meatballs with Greek Salad and Pita and Hummus (4/4)Salmon with Green Goddess Dressing and Bacon Brussels Sprouts (4/4)
Wednesday 8/2K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Basil, Blackberry and Grilled Chicken Salad (2/4)Dinner with Friends 🧀🐹
Thursday 8/3K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Basil, Blackberry and Grilled Chicken Salad (4/4)R - Work Event
K - Shrimp Tacos (1/3)
Friday 8/4K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Shrimp Tacos (3/3)TBD, but most likely sushi 😬🍣

BLTA Breakfast Salad with Eggs

While perusing The Defined Dish (see below) I stumbled upon her recent post ‘why you should eat salad for breakfast.’ It’s basically what Roberto has every morning so I figured I would reluctantly try to get some veggies in earlier in the day too. Her first picture with bacon and poached eggs inspired me, but the rest is all Julianne Hough. Let me explain. When I saw this pic of Jules on her honeymoon I needed to know what she ate immediately.  The internet told me she has steamed eggs with tomato and avocado for breakfast (I don’t know what I ever expect the answer to be, but I’m always holding out hope someone found some magical burrito ingredient). Anyways, I set about Googling and found out her method (which is essentially a fry/steam combo) is different than everybody else’s definition of a steamed egg, but the latter sounded like a delicious make-ahead so I’m giving it a go. In summary, yes I’m basing my breakfast on an Instagram picture and fully aware that my “One time Julianne Hough ate tomatoes, avocados, and eggs for breakfast so I ate tomatoes, avocados, and eggs for breakfast” essentially makes her my real life Regina George, but if it gets me to eat more veggies who really cares.

Greek Turkey Meatballs with Roberto’s Shepherd’s Salad

We have lean ground turkey every week and I love Roberto’s traditional meatballs with Tommaso’s, but we’re switching it up and trying these from Skinnytaste this time. We’re planning to serve with what Roberto calls his Shepherd’s Salad: tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives & feta with a drizzle of olive oil. I also plan to make Gina’s skinny tzatziki and have some whole wheat pita and hummus on the side. Reminds me of our honeymoon in Greece ??? ?

Sheet Pan Green Goddess Salmon with Bacony Brussels Sprouts

Fun fact: we almost spelled brussels sprouts wrong on the menu at our wedding and I still have a panic attack every time I have to write it out. Just more ways vegetables are victimizing me. Anywho, my work wife discovered The Defined Dish while we were doing our Whole30 back in March and still uses her for recipe inspo. She had this salmon last week and said it was amazing so now I obviously have to make it myself ?. It’s not going to be Whole30 compliant since I’m subbing out what we’ve got (i.e. regular mayo and non-compliant turkey bacon), but it looks quick and easy so I’m hoping it lives up to WWs rave reviews. Love this Goldtouch sheet pan from William Sonoma for sheet pan recipes since practically nothing sticks, but we typically use a Silpat to make things extra easy.

Basil, Blackberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad

Bringing this back this week since it was so delish the first time around AND I remembered the basil this week a.k.a. a key ingredient that’s also in the title. Winner winner chicken dinner (lunch). It’s so quick to just grill thinly sliced chicken breast or shrimp and throw it all in a mason jar so we’ve made these quick and easy salads one of our go-to’s each week. Also, it doesn’t hurt that we’ve deemed goat cheese another key ingredient.

Shrimp Tacos

No, we did not get enough tacos last night. Please stop your judging. We’re just planning to grill up some shrimp and throw them in corn tortillas with cabbage, sour cream, salsa, and avocado for me. I apologize if this is one of those things everyone knew except me (like the whole how to chop an onion debacle), but ever since I learned you could make your own hard shell tortillas it’s been a game changer. We do ’em in our toaster oven since it heats up fast, but any old oven will work.

Let me know if you have an awesome recipe you think I should try and have a great week!

 

Weekend Update

Happy Monday! This weekend was a good one. We worked late on Friday then stayed in with some sushi which is our end of week tradition at this point. Roberto let me pick the movie so I took total advantage and put on Bad Moms. I wasn’t in the mood for anything serious or scary, so it was the perfect way to unwind and end the week with some laughs (plus it reminded we how gorg and charming Mila Kunis is).

On Saturday, we woke up early to set out for what has become an annual summer ritual: wine tasting in Yountville. Typically we rent bikes, which is our favorite way to hop from vineyard to vineyard, but since we only had time for two appointments and weren’t staying the night our friend graciously offered to be our designated driver and shuttle us around (thank you AS!!!).

We started at Saddleback Cellars which we love because they allow food (many wineries don’t). The setting is really casual and not at all stuffy which is more our style. The tastings are hosted at picnic tables right next to the vineyard, which was the perfect place to enjoy our lunch from Yountville Deli in the shade (it was almost 100 degrees!). They are known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, and their winemaker, Nils Venge, was the first American to achieve a 100-point score from wine critic Robert Parker Jr. We enjoyed just about everything we tasted but took home a bottle of their Zinfandel.

The real reason for our trip was to visit Goosecross Cellars where we’re members. We visited them on one of our inaugural bike trips when all of their tastings were hosted in a trailer. The staff is warm and hilarious and we left as wine club members that very first day. They were in the midst of building their new tasting room (hence the trailer) and when they completed the project we couldn’t believe it. Their new space is absolutely gorgeous and the view from the patio is unbeatable. We choose not to have our wine shipped so we have an excuse to visit the property a few times a year. As always it was a lovely afternoon with them.

We returned to the city just in time to catch the US men’s national soccer team play Costa Rica in the Gold Cup. The wine tasting gang hung around to watch and Roberto’s parents came over to watch with us as well. One of our best buds lives downstairs and he had a few friends over so they popped up for a bit too! It was a fun last minute get together and Robertos’ parents cooked us all delicious dinner of shrimp and steak.

Yesterday we did all the regular Sunday chores: grocery shopping, meal-prepping, laundry, etc. I also finally sat down to take a look at how we did on our budget and savings goals for the first half of the year, and I’ll be sharing those details later this week.

After an indulgent weekend I’m ready to get back on track so here’s what we’re eating this week:

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 7/24K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach, Tomato, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad (2/4)Turkey Meatballs and Green Beans (2/4)
Tuesday 7/25K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach, Tomato, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad (4/4)Date Night 😍
Wednesday 7/26K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Turkey Meatballs with Green Beans (4/4)R- Soccer Game 🙄
K - Asparagus, Pea, and Shrimp Salad (1/3)
Thursday 7/27K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Asparagus, Pea, and Shrimp Salad (3/3)Salmon Burgers & Brussels Sprouts (2/4)
Friday 7/28K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Salmon Burgers & Brussels Sprouts (4/4)TBD, but most likely sushi 😬🍣

Salads

We went for simplicity this week so for two of our four meals we’re just throwing together salads in mason jars since we loved the Blackberry and Grilled Chicken Salad we had last week. For one, we’re combining spinach, tomatoes, strawberries, and goat cheese. For the other, I’m trying to recreate this ‘Summer Pea Salad’ from Contrada with arugula, peaches, asparagus, peas, and goat cheese. We’re also throwing in shrimp for protein. Easy peasy.

Turkey Meatballs and Green Beans

Here’s how these things typically go in my house: I find a recipe I like and try it then Roberto gets his hands on it, improves it, and continues to make it all from memory. I’m so envious of his ability to just throw things together! Anywho, the original recipes we used were these from Giada and these from (who else) Skinnytaste’s Gina. We aren’t fussy enough to make our own sauce and instead are addicted to Tomasso’s Marinara which I’ve mentioned here 100 times. You can do these in the slow cooker, but Roberto typically just browns them in our favorite pans before letting them simmer in the sauce on the stovetop.

Salmon Burgers

Like I said last week, we have some kind of burger at least once a week. This week we’re doing salmon burgers which we developed the same way as the meatballs (I found the recipe and Roberto put his own spin on it). He’s been making these for so long that I can’t even remember the original recipe we used, but the ingredients in these from Gina look very similar. She’s even using the same grill pan as us ?

Let me know if you have a must-try recipe for me and have a great week!