Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Recipe!

It's Saturday! The best day. No work, and you have an entire day of weekend ahead of you. 

Like I said, the best

Just wanted to stop in with a quick recipe from last night. Mexican is a definite favorite at our house, but a good quality Mexican meal usually comes with a hefty amount of calories. 

And you know what, they're usually worth it! What can I say, I love my Mexican food. But good news, I've found a recipe that's healthy and delicious. 

Of course I have to share:


Cooking spray
1 (8oz) package presliced mushrooms
2 cups refrigerated meatless fat-free crumbles (such as Lightlife Smart Ground)
2 teaspoons 40%-less-sodium taco seasoning
1 (8oz) package shredded iceberg lettuce
Preshredded reduced-fat Mexican blend
16 light-restaurant style tortilla chips
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add mushrooms; saute 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add crumbles and taco seasoning. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated; set aside. 

2. Combine cilantro, red wine vinegar, olive oil, lime juice and garlic. Stir well with a whisk. 

3. Layer lettuce and crumbles mixture evenly on each of 4 plates. Drizzle evenly with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette. Top with cheese. Serve each salad with tortilla chips. 

Per Serving (Yields 4 servings):

267 Calories
19g Fat
11.8g Protein
17.0 Carbohydrates
4.4g Fiber
2.4mg Iron
329mg Sodium
37mg Calcium

I served mine with:

We liked this as much, if not more, than the salad. Hey, it's carbs. Do you blame us? 

It's so easy, too. Just mix this rice:

with 1/3 cup chipotle salsa and 1/4 cup fresh cilantro. And bam, you have yourself a delicious Mexican side. 

So there you have it, a few recipes for your weekend. I happen to have the house to myself, and what do I do when I have the house to myself? 

Take a photoshoot showing off my new heels. In gym clothes. But more on that later. 

Friday, March 30, 2012


Sorry to disappoint, Kristi, but this is no ordinary Flashback Friday. 

I hope you can forgive me. To see what I'm referring to, go here.

Today is a special post, my 100th post! So today, I celebrate that I have a blog. 

So that when great moments like these happen:

I have somewhere to document them. 

And with all these amazing people in my life:

There sure are a lot of amazing moments. 

So to all these people (and many more!),

Thank you for making my life interesting enough to blog about. 

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What We Had For Dinner

This recipe was a big time favorite in our house. All five of us loved it. And, as usual, it was quick and easy. 


Salmon, Asparagus, and Orzo Salad with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette


6 cups water
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 cup uncooked orzo
1 (1 1/4 lb) skinless salmon fillet
We used a 1 lb. fillet, and made 1.5X what the recipe called for. Still turned out great!
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette


1. Preheat broiler. 

2. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add asparagus; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus from water with tongs or a slotted spoon, reserve water in pan. Drain and set aside. 

3. Return reserved water to a boil. Add orzo, and cook according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. 

4. While orzo cooks, sprinkle fillet evenly with salt and pepper. Place fish on a foil-lined broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Using 2 forks, break fish into large chunks. 

5. Combine fish, orzo, asparagus, and Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. 

Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette


1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. 

Per Serving (recipe yields 6 servings)

353 Calories
15g Fat
27.4g Protein
25.8g Carbohydrates
2.3g Fiber
64mg Cholesterol
1.5mg Iron
547mg Sodium
115mg Calcium

This has been a week full of great dinners. On Tuesday, I went to an appetizer party. Everyone brought different appetizers, and we ended up with so many yummy things. Needless to say, it was a delicious dinner. 

Oh, and it gave me an excuse to rock my new pants

And here's that awkward moment when you turn the camera on self timer, and don't know where to position yourself:

Or maybe it's just me that seems to find a way to make the picture all about me. 

Whoops, mah bad.

Hope you have a Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Letter

Freshman year of college, I started a "tradition" of writing myself a letter on New Year's Eve. The letter would summarize everything that happened in the year before, and predict/hope what would happen in the year to come. 

Fall of sophomore year, some things went down that I didn't exactly want to relive come that New Year's Eve. So, the tradition died. 

Short-lived tradition, right? 

Well, I shared that idea with Kacey back when I first came up with it, and she's since reminded me of it a few times. I told her this year, that I wish I had written myself a letter. It's been a really pivotal year for me so far, and I said that I wished I could look back come next New Year's Eve to remember how far I've come.  

Her response: why not write one now?

So, here it is. My letter to myself. 

Dear Me, 

I've officially made it to the real world, huh? Got my big full-time job, paying all my own bills, and really turning Santa Barbara into home. Today (March 28th) officially marks one year of full-time employment, and I would say it's been one good year. There's been some really amazing weekends. Heck, there's been some really amazing week-nights. One thing I've really learned is to make the most of what time is my time, and I hope to always continue to do that. 

This year didn't exactly start the way that I would have predicted it, did it? Just a month before New Year's, I was in what I thought was a happy relationship. Funny how things work out, right? But even if it takes time to see it, they always work out for the best. I didn't waste a single day of 2012 dwelling on that relationship, even though I found out some harsh news just hours into the New Year.  

I take that back, I gave one day of the New Year to grieve over the relationship. One day. I'm proud. 

It's been just three months of this year, and I can already tell that I will look back on 2012 as a big one. I'll always remember this as a year of learning, and a year of loving. I'm completely falling in love with Jesus and my faith, and learning to truly love the person I'm becoming along that journey. It feels damn good to finally learn to love yourself, doesn't it? 

I'm starting to develop actual hobbies, you know, besides drinking with my friends. Not to say I don't still enjoy that, because I do. But I'm also finding other things to do with my time, like hiking and biking. And getting to the gym. Staying active has become really important to me, and I hope that stays with me over time. If I can keep up with getting to the gym as often as I have been, I will officially stick with a New Year's Resolution for a change. 

Another New Year's Resolution I've kept up with is the "One Year" Bible reading challenge. It feels really great to keep up with these goals, and I hope come December 31st, I can officially say that I've read the entire Bible. 

I hope come January 1st, 2013, I continue reading the Word. Even though I will not have a reading plan to stick to. 

I'm also becoming borderline obsessed with cooking. I so enjoy looking through cook books, noting down recipes that I want to try. I can't wait to see how I grow as a cook this year, and maybe graduate from "quick and easy" recipes to some more challenging ones. 

I know this year is going to continue to be amazing, as there is already so much that is planned.   Four trips in the next two months, three of which include flights. Crazy! Traveling was another New Year's Resolution, and that's exactly what I'm doing. 

I hope by the end of this year, I will officially have my passport. Maybe 2013 will be the year that I finally venture out of the country. Fingers crossed!

I also hope that I continue to make the most of every day. Continue learning that it's impossible to please everyone, but the most important thing is to please my God. Continue learning to be proud of who I am, and to never stop striving to grow. 

2012, you're only a quarter of the way done, and I can already say with near certainty that you will be one of the best year's of my life. 



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bright Jeans and Country Boots

I went shopping this weekend and maybe definitely splurged a bit. But I'd say it was pretty necessary, because my wardrobe could use some exciting new additions. 

So I give you my adventurous buy of the weekend, some bright colored jeans and new cow girl boots:

Jeans and Boots: Both from Wet Seal

Considering I'm going to Stagecoach in a few weeks (An entire weekend full of country music in Palm Springs? Count me in!!), I definitely needed some new boots for that weekend. 

Becoming more adventurous with my style this year? Check!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend was everything I hoped it would be. 

A lot of wine. A lot of cheese. A lot of relaxing.

Starting today, Kristi and I are keeping a food journal to help get into Vegas shape. 

Wish us luck, will ya? As you can see, we love our carbs and cheese. 

And wine. But that's negative calories, right?

In other news, we had our second book club meeting this weekend. 

This month's pick was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and we all agreed that it was an extremely unique book. Written from the perspective of a 15 year old autistic child, it definitely was unlike any book I had read before. That's one thing that I love about Book Club, it allows me to read books that I might not otherwise pick myself. The plot had some unexpected twists that kept me interested, and it was a pretty quick read. I'd recommend it if you're looking for a new book!

Next on our list, something completely different:

And while I wait to get that in the mail, I'm reading this:

I'm almost half way through, and so far it's entirely different from the movie. I'm sure I'll be back with a review when I'm done (which will be soon!).

Now I can't end this post without publishing this adorable picture of our amazingly handsome Scooby:

I think his picture turned out better than ours.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Flashback Friday!

In case you missed it, last Flashback Friday reminisced on the vacation from High School. 

So today, I give you pretty much the same vacation. Just, about 3 years later. 

+ a few more girls. 

- the parents. 

and + alcohol. 

I give you: Palm Springs: Spring Break 2010




Thursday, March 22, 2012

What We Had For Dinner

I'm so excited to share this recipe, it was definitely a favorite in my book. Have you ever heard of cabbage rolls? I hadn't until I had this Lean Cuisine:

Well, when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. Finally did this week, and I will definitely be making it again!

And again, and again and again. 

Without further adieu:

Inside-Out Cabbage Rolls


1 pound lean ground beef (I used 96% lean)
1 large onion, chopped
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
1 can (8 ounces) pizza sauce
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese


1. In a Dutch oven, cook the beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. 

2. Stir in the cabbage, tomatoes, broth and pizza sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally. 

3. Stir in rice; heat through. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand until cheese is melted. 

Per Serving (1 1/3 cups, recipe yields 6 servings):

244 Calories
8g Fat
45mg Cholesterol
502mg Sodium
23g Carbohydrate
5g Fiber
21g Protein

I added some Tapatio hot sauce (we're a big fan of that in this house) to make it even spicier, and it was good. I'm going to a Potluck Housewarming party on Saturday, and this is definitely the dish that I'll be bringing. 

Give this recipe a try, you won't regret it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recipe Week! Part 3

As promised, here is a recipe from our St. Patrick's Day feast:

Easy Colcannon


1 1/2 lbs medium red potatoes, cut into 1-in. cubes
7 1/2 cups chopped cabbage
8 green onions, chopped
1 cup fat free milk
1/3 cup reduced-fat butter
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper


1. Place potatoes in a Dutch oven; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender, adding the cabbage during the last 5 minutes of cooking. 

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine green onions and milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until onions are soft. 

3. Drain potato mixture. Mash with milk mixture, butter, salt and pepper. 

Per Serving (3/4 cup, recipe yields 8 servings):

131 Calories
4g Fat
11mg Cholesterol
320 mg Sodium
22g Carbohydrate
4g Fiber
4g Protein

This recipe was really easy. I may or may not have made it after a few drinks. 

Hey, it was St. Patrick's Day, do you blame me?
I was sold when I saw easy in the recipe name. 

Also, just had some leftovers for lunch today (4 days after making this!) and it was still delicious. Score.

Happy Hump Day!