12/365 – Go to a Wine Tasting

Malibu Wines

A very happy belated birthday to KimitheBee! She turned 29 this year, but shhhh!  We’ll just say she’s turning 25 again.  This year she didn’t have to work on her actual birthday, so I took the day off and we spent the afternoon together at Malibu Wines.  Neither of us had been to a wine tasting before, so we were able to celebrate her birthday AND cross off another item on our Project365 list!

Malibu Wines got high marks on Yelp (and a personal recommendation from one of our friends), so we were happy there was a place within reasonable driving distance. We went to Trader Joe’s to get some wine-tasting snacks (crackers, cheese, pita, hummus, fruit, etc.) and arrived at the Tasting Room right around lunch time.

The place was pretty empty, with only a few small parties sitting far apart in the patio area. We were hoping there would be more people, if anything, so we could see what to do at a wine tasting! But we managed okay. We went up to the wine tasting area and were given a menu of choices. We could choose from three different flights (shown below, you get a taste from four different wines) or purchase a bottle. We decided to try all three flights. I incorrectly assumed we would get all of the wine at once. Nope! Instead, we were given two wine glasses and had to go back to the bar area when we were ready for our next tasting. This would have been the perfect opportunity for their workers to educate us about the wines, but the woman we had was too busy flirting with some guy at the counter. She was polite, of course, but not very talkative (to us, at least). Or maybe she knew that all the wine would probably taste the same to my uncultured self. Who knows.  At one point, she stepped away from the bar, and someone more helpful took over and explained to KimitheBee what our current glass of wine should taste like and why, so that was nice.

Overall, it was a really nice afternoon. We ate delicious Trader Joe’s food, tried a bunch of wines, and just hung out at Malibu Wine’s beautiful patio area. On the weekends, they have live music there and during the summer, they play old movies on certain week nights. I think Breakfast at Tiffany’s is next on the calendar, so I highly recommend going if you can!

I am admittedly not a very big wine drinker. I don’t think I’m supposed to drink a lot of alcohol because of my stomach medication, but I did try a little of each without getting sick. Hooray!

malibu wines tasting menu

Happy Birthday, Kimi the Bee!

Happy Birthday, Kimi the Bee!

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11/365 – Make a Healthy, Yet Delicious Pie

Strawberry Pie

In case you were wondering what we did with our baskets of fresh strawberries, KimitheBee made a (healthy) Spring Strawberry Pie last week.  When she told me it was going to be healthy, I admit I cringed a little. I’m one of those people who automatically assume that healthy = blah tasting. I had a mental image of a pie made entirely out of some natural ingredient I’ve never heard of and tasting not even close to what strawberry pie should taste like. Thankfully, she reassured me this would be a healthy, but DELICIOUS pie, and you know what? She was right.

Spring Strawberry Pie (originally posted at Cooking Light)

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST

  • 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Cooking spray

FILLING

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cups small strawberries

TOPPING

  • 3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts or almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed

 

NOTE: Kimi substituted sugar with Agave.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl, tossing with a fork until moist. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the filling, combine strawberry slices and vinegar in a medium nonstick skillet. Place the berry mixture over medium-high heat; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar. Combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in juice. Cool completely. Arrange whole strawberries, stem sides down, in crust. Pour cooled strawberry mixture over whole strawberries. Cover loosely, and chill 4 hours.

To prepare the topping, combine 3 tablespoons cracker crumbs, nuts, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons melted butter in a small bowl. Place crumb mixture in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes or until golden brown; cool. Sprinkle crumb mixture over pie. Top each serving with whipped topping.

 

Maui Graham Crackers

Check out that hipster packaging. What would be $3 at Long Drugs was $5 at Sprouts here in LA.

Strawberries!

Prepping the strawberries!

Graham Cracker

Testing out the graham crackers to make sure they taste a-okay.

Magic Blender to the Rescue

After attempting to the crush the graham crackers in a ziploc bag, KimitheBee decided to use the Magic Bullet to get stuff done.

 

Graham Cracker Crush

After crushing the graham crackers, she

Cut Strawberries

Strawberry Pie in Progress

Placed the cut strawberries bottom-up on the crust.

Strawberry Pie in Progress

Here’s a close-up of the filling. You’ll see. It’ll be delicious, I promise.

Strawberry Pie in Progress

Poured the filling and it looks delicious!

Strawberry Pie in Progress

She even added some chopped nuts, graham crackers, and strawberries to use as a topping!

Strawberry Pie in Progress

Since we bought so many strawberries, KimitheBee also made a healthy individual strawberry shortcakes!

Strawberry Pie in Progress strawberry-pie20

Yum!

10/365 – Pick Our Own Strawberries!

Strawberry Picking at McGrath Family Farm

The Project365 continues, albeit a bit slower than I anticipated, but that’s okay because I will make up for lost time. KimitheBee and I are both strawberry lovers and decided it would be fun to visit one of those U-Pick farms as one of our activities. After a bit of research, we decided on the McGrath Family Farm in Camarillo, CA since it was within reasonable driving distance and they were one of the few farms that still had strawberries for picking (apparently we’re at the tail end of strawberry season). A big bonus that McGrath Family Farm is a certified organic farm!

The farm doesn’t open until 11am on the weekends, so we stopped by the Camarillo Outlets beforehand to kill time and grab a quick lunch (to prevent us from picking way more strawberries than necessary).  By the time we arrived at McGrath Family Farm, it was about 2pm and it was hotttttt and I was sweaty. We checked in at their marketplace area (where you can buy fresh produce, flowers, etc.) and a nice woman took us to the fields to explain everything to us.

The woman gave us lots of information: don’t climb over the patches (safety issue), don’t walk down too far because those other crops belonged to a different farm, the strawberries are on the smaller side because they are organic (but very sweet nonetheless), you can also pick kale and chard (omg what is chard?), etc. She showed us where the green containers were located and said three of ‘em fit in a box for easy transporting. At the time, I thought we were only going to pick one green container each. Nope. We went home with six containers. And a little bunch of kale.

Speaking of kale, she showed us how “easy” it was to pick (a quick twist and pull motion), which turned out to be harder than it looked! KimitheBee accidentally pulled out a root at one point and then she eventually gave up, so we had to buy extra kale in the marketplace area so her bunch wouldn’t look too dinky.

Overall, it was a really cool experience to cross off the list! The only disappointing thing was this family who arrived around the same time as us who basically did everything the woman said NOT to do (they also freely ate the fruit as if it were at their own personal farm). I thought about tripping one of their unruly children as he hopped between each row (a big no-no) without parent supervision, but then was distracted by the strawberries and heat of the 2pm sun. Lucky for him.

Strawberry Picking at McGrath Family Farm

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[pictures] The Patchwork Craft Fair Show Kicks Off Summer!

Patchwork Show - Santa Ana

You know what I love? Summer (or soon-to-be-summer) in Los Angeles. Why?   When I first moved to LA a few years ago, the bulk of the craft fairs took place in summer. Now we are lucky to have so many great events year round and I was excited for the Patchwork Show in Santa Ana.

This isn’t part of our Project365, just a nice way to spend a Sunday together.

If you like what you see in the pictures, head on over to Craft in the City where I will be showcasing my favorite vendors this week.

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9/365 – Iron and Sew on a Merit Badge

disorderly goods merit badge

In 2013, I vowed to be craftier. I started with my first zipper pouch and now I’m moving on to sewing on Disorderly Goods’ awesome merit badges! I’m a big fan of Jane’s work and since I would never be in a position to earn my own merit badges, I love the creativity and humor behind each of her badges. In fact, I love these badges so much that this is actually the second time I’ve purchased the same badges (my first set are ironed on to one of my bags).

I thought my denim jacket needed a bit of color, so I decided to try and iron/sew on my merit badge.  Before I get started, I just wanted to show off Disorderly Goods merit badge collection:

Merit Badges
PURCHASE HERE!


buster is here...

Like all projects I’d like to start, something (or rather, someone) is ready to distract me!

buster
Step, step, step!!

project 365 | sew on a badge
All right, FINALLY ready to begin!

project365 - sew on a badge
NAH, JUST KIDDING. And the West Wing is playing in the background. See you in five hours.

project365 - sew on a badge

project365 - sew on a badge
So many good badges to choose from.
First up, the pleasure badge: dopamine molecule, for being in love.

project365 - sew on a badge
The Big Dipper: for Dreaming Big.

project365 - sew on the badge
Finally…The Heart: For Giving a Shit.

Needle and Thread
Okay, I ironed on the merit badge first (not pictured) and then decided I would sew it to make 230984832032% sure it wouldn’t fall off since denim is a very thick material. As the instructions suggest, choose a thread that is same color (or at least close) as the merit badge’s border.

sewing
credit: Disorderly Goods

You will be using an overhand stitch to secure your merit badge (show above).  Ideally, you would stitch sort of underneath the border, so the stitches aren’t visible.

Disorderly Goods
The hardest part was pushing the needle through the denim (and badge) in the right location. I didn’t have a thimble, so I used my desk to align the need and then push it through. Silly, I know, but it worked! I’d recommend to others sewing on heavier material to use a thimble. Your fingers will appreciate it.

disorderly goods

The finished product!

Disorderly Goods