Monday, August 31, 2015

Weekend Fun and Weekly Menu (August 31)

We had a relaxing weekend with enough time to get things done around the house. I loved it! It’s so important not to over-schedule ourselves.

On Saturday and Sunday, we started the day with hikes, which was great. But you already know that if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram I love how comfortable the pig looks in its mud bath! It sure knows how to relax!

Sunday Hike

And then I made some time to just hang out and enjoy the Vogue Fall Fashion issue. I don’t plan on buying any new pieces this fall (although I’m eyeing a pair of 70s jeans…), but I love looking at the beautiful photos. Plus, it’s always fun to see what in my closet is somewhat fashionable at the moment...


I also spent some time shopping and meal prepping. Here is what’s on the menu this week. I haven’t decided what to make when, but here are the meals that I have planned:

Meal 1: Homemade pizza with brie cheese, sautéed onions and mushrooms. The kid has been asking for homemade pizza for weeks, but somehow I kept forgetting about it. We’ll definitely have it this week! We’ll also have a salad.
Meal 2: Lentil soup with onions, mushrooms, celery, and carrots.
Meal 3: Spinach turkey burgers. (I’ll combine ground turkey with chopped spinach, onion, garlic, a little sesame oil, salt, and pepper and bake the burgers in the oven for about 20 minutes (for small burgers)). I’ll eat them on top of a salad and the boys will have them either with a bun (in the freezer) with onion slices, guacamole, and tomato slices or with some rice. Andy actually prefers them with rice on the side.
Meal 4: Chicken soup and homemade dumplings. I’m on a mission to clean out the freezer, and both the chicken soup and the dumplings have been in there long enough. It’ll be a quick, easy meal.
Friday: Fish. I’ll pick up what’s local, wild and, hopefully, on sale at the Farmers’ Market.

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? Did you make enough time for yourself? What’s on your menu this week? 

Be well,

Friday, August 28, 2015

Favorite Low Calorie Drink

I drink a lot of water. But sometimes I get tired of plain, old water, even after adding lemon or cucumber slices, mint, basil, blueberries, or raspberries.

I was excited to find a low cal seltzer with no added sugar or sweeteners but lots of flavor the other day. My local Trader Joe’s carries two flavors: Raspberry Lime and Grapefruit. While I don’t care much for the Raspberry Lime, I LOVE the Grapefruit. It tastes like it “should” (nice and tart!) and is super refreshing. I still drink mainly plain water but love enjoying a can of the Grapefruit seltzer once in a while, especially in a pretty wine glass.  

Spindrift Seltzer 2
Spindrift Seltzer 3
Spindrift Seltzer 5
Spindrift Seltzer 4 

SpindriftSeltzer 1

Question: What’s your favorite drink at the moment? 

Be well,

[Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I bought the seltzer with my own money and received no product or compensation for this blog post.]

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

End of Summer Color Choice: White

While you can certainly wear white after Labor Day, nothing says summer like white. At least that’s how I have been feeling lately. And I am especially fond of white and navy. I realized that I hadn’t worn a lot of white yet this summer and changed that quickly.

On Saturday (for our Livermore Wine Country trip), I wore white capris with a white/navy tank and a navy cardigan along with a colorful statement necklace.

White  Navy 1 
White  Navy 4


And on Monday I worked at home and was comfortable (yet slightly more put together than my usual yoga pants) when I paired the white capris with a very soft, comfy purple tee.

White  purple

Questions: What’s your go-to/favorite piece(s) of clothing right now? I’m definitely into as much white as possible. While reading some fashion/style blogs, I realized how nice white and grey looks and wish I had a nice grey tee to pair with my white capris. I’m trying to not buy any new pieces in the next few months, but the “perfect” grey tee is going on my “list.”

Be well,

Monday, August 24, 2015

Weekend Fun and Weekly Menu (August 24)

We had a good weekend. On Saturday, we met up with my brother-in-law and his family and did some wine tasting in Livermore Valley. It’s only about a 45-minute drive from San Jose, but we had never been. We did some research online and decided where to visit before we went. That was a good decision as there are wineries everywhere!

The first winery we visited was The Singing Winemaker. As the name says, there is a winemaker who sings, which is quite fun. And we also enjoyed the wines, especially the sparkling ones. The Singing Winemaker is part of Tesla Vintners - one property that hosts three tasting rooms. There is plenty of shaded outdoor seating available and even a grass area where you can have a picnic or play some games (definitely kid friendly). You could spend an entire afternoon at Tesla Vintners and visit all three tasting rooms for $20. We loved how laid back, unpretentious, and relaxing the place is. We may have had an especially good experience as we got there right at opening and it wasn’t crowded yet. 


The Singing Winemaker

We didn’t visit the other two tasting rooms at Tesla Vintners but instead headed to Murrieta’s Well, which was a short drive away. Most of the wines at Murrieta’s Well are only available for purchase at the winery, and we had had a Tempranillo from Murrieta’s Well about 10 years ago at some friends’ house, and it was so memorable that we still remembered it. Murrieta’s Well is a beautiful, upscale winery. The tasting fee is a bit steep at $20 for 5 tastings, but you can get a 2 for 1 coupon on their website. Also, if you decide to buy some wine your tasting fee goes toward the purchase.  

Murrietas Well
Murrietas Well 04
Murrietas Well 02   
The last winery we visited was Bent Creek Winery. For a $5 tasting fee, you get to taste 11 wines (which was way too many for me at that point, and I stopped after 4). It was later in the afternoon when we made it to Bent Creek, and it was quite crowded. However, there is plenty of shaded outdoor seating, right next to the vineyard. It’s a beautiful and relaxing setting.

Bent Creek Winery

I can’t believe we hadn’t explored Livermore Valley sooner! I have to honestly say it was the best wine tasting trip ever, mainly because the tasting experience was so relaxed and there was plenty of space to sit, talk, and enjoy the scenery. Plus, the kids had room to hang out and roam around. 

On Sunday, we went grocery shopping, and I also got some meal prep done. Here is the menu for the week:

Monday: Tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. We got plenty of fresh tomatoes from my mother-in-law, and the kid LOVES grilled cheese sandwiches. I will skip the sandwiches and have a salad instead.

Tuesday: Salad with grilled salmon (the salmon is from the freezer; right before I left for Germany we grilled a lot of salmon when we had guests over, and there were a lot of leftovers. It was too much to eat at the time without getting sick of it, so I froze individual portions. I love having ready-to-use, tasty wild salmon to put on salads.)

Wednesday: Romanesco & brown rice salad & Caprese skewers.

Thursday: Sautéed grass-fed ground beef & veggies. I’ll sauté half ground beef & half veggies (onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms, and carrots). The boys will eat the beef & veggies with some pasta, and I will eat it over fresh spinach. I love spooning the hot beef/veggie mixture over the spinach to slightly wilt it.

Friday: Sautéed scallops & grilled veggies. I have a bag of wild-caught scallops in the freezer that needs to be used up. I’ll pick up some veggies at the Farmers’ Market on Friday morning.

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What’s on your menu this week?

Be well,

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hanging Patio Tomato Plant & Caprese Everything

I love tomatoes. If I had to pick one food to eat for the rest of my life, I’d pick tomatoes. Especially homegrown tomatoes.

Usually, we grow as many tomato plants as possible in our small patio. However, since I knew I’d be gone for five weeks this summer, I decided to only grow a small hanging tomato plant. It did great, and I harvested several bowls until a squirrel decided to make it its own. It jumped into the middle of it, walked all over it, and ate about 15 perfectly ripe tomatoes that I was going to harvest that day (I chased it away toward the end, but it was too late…). Unfortunately, it broke all the main stems and the plant died. But we’ll definitely get some hanging tomato plants again next year as they are easy to grow, and I like the look of hanging baskets along the fence. Plus it maximizes our space to grow vegetables! We’ll just make sure to protect them from squirrels!


We are very lucky that my mother-in-law has several tomato plants that are producing great tomatoes, and she’s been sharing with us!

I’ll never get tired of a perfectly ripe tomato with just a little salt as well as Caprese combos any way. I’m already sad that the tomato season is going to come to an end soon...

Caprese Sandwich
Caprese Skewers

Questions: What’s your favorite summer produce? Are you eating enough of it while it’s in season? Do you like tomatoes? If so, what’s your favorite way to eat them? 

Be well,

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Andrea's Wellness Notes 2.0

If you are a regular blog reader, you may have noticed that I have been MIA for the past five months (thanks to everyone who emailed and messaged me to check in). My dad suffered a major stroke the end of March, and there just wasn’t enough time or energy for blog reading and/or blogging. Thankfully my dad is getting better!

I have missed blogging! My blog has always been a place where I get to focus on the positive in my life. It’s also a reminder to make enough time for myself. So I am excited to start blogging again - this time about more than just food and exercise. I am also looking forward to reading blogs again - old favorites as well as new ones. Plus, I think a tentative blogging schedule may keep me on track.

Without promising a set schedule, I envision my new blogging schedule something like this: 

Mondays: Weekend Fun and Weekly Menu: I love recapping and looking back at what we’ve done on the weekend. Usually this involves a Farmers’ Market trip and often a hike. I also enjoy sharing interesting and fun outings in the San Francisco Bay Area. Plus, as school started up again, a weekly menu as well as food prep on the weekend are essential to keep life going smoothly.   


Lake Tahoe Hike


Rancho San Antonio Hike



Stanford Campus

Mt. View Art and Wine Festival


Wednesdays: Fashion/Beauty/Home Decor/Patio Gardening: I have incorporated this a little bit on the blog in the past as well as on Instagram. I am by no means a fashion or decor expert, but I think “pretty things” contribute to our overall well being. It’s also a way to keep myself accountable. I have posted a few “outfit” pics on Instagram and plan to do so once in a while on the blog. It may look something like this: 


Work bag


Door Wreath

Patio Garden Harvest

Patio Garden Winter

Friday: Exercise or Recipe: My exercise routine is pretty predictable (hiking, barre classes, yoga, body weight exercises at home). It’ll be fun to mix things up a little bit once a while. I also look forward to trying out some new recipes.


barr3 Workout

Retro Fitness Workout


Green Smoothie

Guacamole and Veggies

Questions: Do you focus enough on your well being? What will you do for yourself today?
Be well,