Restaurant Review: Luna Maya

Okay. Before I start, let me apologize for the HORRIBLE photos that are accompanying this post. I asked for a table outside, but that didn’t happen and we ended up in the darkest corner imaginable. Great for a cozy dinner with your husband, not great for decent quality food photos.

Now. On to the review. Luna Maya has been on my radar for a few weeks now. A guy who lives in my apartment complex mentioned it one night while we were in the dog park. We’re still on the lookout for a Mexican restaurant here that we can call our favorite, and since this place was so highly recommended, I wanted to check it out. We went on a Friday night and at that point the wait was about 20 minutes for a table. We grabbed seats at the bar and perused the menu while we waited. Graham ordered a margarita, which he said was too strong. For him to say that, it had to be REALLY strong. For $10, I’m glad there was a lot of tequila, but still. If he had wanted straight up tequila, he would have ordered that.

Once we were sat at our table, I ordered a drink and he switched to beer. I ordered a pomegranate caipiroskas (pomegranate juice, vodka, muddled limes and sugar). It was just strong enough and absolutely delicious. They also have a drink called the caipirnhas, which is similar, but contains Brazillian rum instead of vodka. For both drinks you have a choice of lime, mango, pomegranate and passion fruit. I plan on getting a different flavor every time, and eventually I’ll let you know which one is best ;)

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When the waitress took our drink orders, we also ordered the Queso Fundido con Chorizo (melted cheese, homemade chicken chorizo and roasted poblanos) as an appetizer. Y’all. This was SO good. It was spicy, had a TON of chicken chorizo in it, and I pretty much just wanted to eat it with a spoon. It was so, so good.

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I’m really glad we ordered an appetizer. We were both STARVING, and considering every table that was sat after us, got their food before us, I think our waitress forgot to put in our order. She sucked on multiple levels. For example, she never refilled our water glasses. She took the pitcher around to all of her other tables, filled up their water, and left my glass completely empty. I stole Graham’s, but that’s just unacceptable. She also never spoke to us. At all. Someone else brought us our queso, she never asked how it was. As she stopped by to clear off plates and glasses, she never told us our food would be out shortly, or asked if we needed anything else. FINALLY, our meals came out.

I had ordered the Enchiladas en Chipotle (two enchiladas with your choice of protein, in a spicy chipotle sauce, covered in cheese, with rice and black beans). I chose the chicken chorizo, and these were amazing. There was so much chorizo in these, and the enchilada sauce was rich, slightly spicy and really delicious. Even the black beans and rice were good, both of which are usually very hit or miss at Mexican restaurants.

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Graham ordered the Tamales Luna Maya, which was two sweet, yellow corn tamales, shredded beef slow cooked in Ancho chile sauce, with sour cream, rice and black beans. He loved this. I did not. The beef itself was really good, but the super sweet corn under the beef was just a weird combination for me. But I’m not a big fan of corn in general, so there you go.

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Other than our waitress, we really enjoyed our dinner here. The food lived up to the hype, the ambience was very cool, and it’s in a very charming area of Norfolk. After dinner we walked around for a little bit, and saw a few other places we’d like to check out. We don’t usually cross the bridge that much, because there is ALWAYS traffic. But we’re learning that most of the (really) good restaurants are on the other side of the bridge. So, I guess we’re going to have to suck it up and sit in traffic more often… I was recently scrolling through my list of places I wanted to try, and most of them are in Norfolk or Virginia Beach… Oh well… If I get too stressed out by the traffic, I can always relax with a cocktail once I get there, right? =)

And FYI, I’m going camping this weekend with Graham and my in-laws. It’s supposed to be 94 degrees. If I survive, I’ll see y’all on Monday with an update. And if you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $25 World Market gift card!

What I’m Loving Wednesday & a GIVEAWAY: World Market

The location of our apartment is pretty amazing. We have a Trader Joe’s, TJ Maxx, Petco, Starbucks, Five Guys, Jason’s Deli, Sweet Frog (and more) almost right in our parking lot. Go a little further down the road and there is a Chipotle, Target, the future home of Whole Foods (vegan chocolate chip cookies & hot bar macaroni & cheese, ftw!), a Fresh Market & a World Market. We went from not having a World Market in the same state, to having one right down the street. It’s a pretty awesome. And considering my obsession with serving dishes, pretty dangerous for our bank account.

World Market is one of my favorite stores ever. We didn’t have one in Arkansas, and I hated that. Every time we were home in Charlotte, stopping by there was always near the top of my to-do list. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re always guaranteed to find something wonderful. Most of the serving dishes I use on a daily basis are from World Market (these bowls are my favorite. Ever. And don’t even get me started on these wine glasses. I hated stemless wine glasses before I found these).

If you’re more practical than I am, and don’t feel the need for an absurd amount of dishes, you’re still guaranteed to find something there you love. Especially in their wine & beer section. SO many different wines and beers that you can’t find at regular grocery stores. Other than the serving dishes, my favorite section is their gourmet food section. Holy crap, they have so many awesome things to choose from. Spices, ethnic items, and a killer selection of pickles and other pickled things. They have a spicy pickled okra that I just snack on straight from the jar.

So, I’m going to stop rambling about how awesome World Market is, because I’m sure most of you have been there, and show you some of my current favorite things and then give you the opportunity to pick up something for yourself!

LOVE this wood bark pedestal stand. It’s charming & rustic. I love it as is, but I saw a picture of one online with a glass serving bowl on top, and it looked just as awesome, in a completely different way. This little beauty is $29.99, and I’d love to use this as part of my Thanksgiving table setting.

This wood & marble cake stand is beautiful. Simple, elegant and just begging for me to bring it home with me next time. The 9″ is $24.99 and the 12″ is $34.99.

Apparently I have Thanksgiving on the brain, because I’m picturing this beautiful serving bowl full of vegetables on my Thanksgiving table. They have a whole set of bakers and bowls in this pattern, and honestly I want them all. But this one the most. This bowl is $26.99.

I love these napkins. I love anything blue & white, really. But at $9.99 for a set of four, I really love these.

I want this chair for our guestroom so badly, I can’t even handle it. The only thing holding me back is that our animals are destructive hellions. I’m not even going to tell you what our 2 year old, $4,000 couch currently looks like. So, I’m holding off. For now. But I’m sure I’ll cave eventually. Because I really, really love this chair.

Y’all know I love mason jars… and these mason jar measuring cups are right up my alley. I love the style and the color of these so much! And at $12.99? Yes, please!

So, those are some of my current favorites, but I really could go on and on. But like I said, now it’s your turn to pick something. My blog has been growing a lot, lately. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m posting more consistently, the different format, or who knows. The point it, it’s growing and I wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you. And I’m saying thank you by giving away a $25 gift card to one of my favorite stores! So, just click on the image below to enter, and gain as many entries as you want. Thank you guys so much for supporting me here, and I hope you’ll stick around as I continue to grow.


*** This post was not sponsored or endorsed in any way by World Market.

A Random Saturday in Maryland

Saturday morning, we had just finished breakfast and we sitting on the couch throwing around ideas for what to do that day. While G was on the phone dealing with reservations for our camping trip next weekend (this should be interesting…), I decided that I was driving to Assateague Island to see the Chincoteague ponies. I’ve been wanting to see them for a while, but to get there you have to pay a $15 toll (each way), which is ridiculous. I decided I was tired of being held hostage by this toll, so I decided I was going. As soon as G was off the phone, I hopped up and said that I was going to see ponies, and if he wanted to come with me he better hurry up and get ready.

So, we packed a lunch and headed out. When I decide I’m doing something, it’s best not to stand in my way ;)

Thanks to traffic, it took about 3 hours to get to Assateague Island. A lot of the guides online told me I probably would not see ponies. So I was really, really happy when we saw these right off the main road. I was happy we saw ponies, but I was even happier with the wildlife refuge itself. It was so beautiful, and I loved seeing animals, just doing their thing, free from human interference.

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After leaving Assateague Island, I realized we weren’t far from Ocean City, Maryland, so we kept driving. I’ve been wanting to head that way, and I figured we might as well do it now instead of paying that insane toll again.

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As a kid, I grew up vacationing at Myrtle Beach. It was always so much fun. We’d spend the day at the beach or the hotel pool and every night we’d head to the pavilion for rides and arcade games. Ocean City reminded me so much of Myrtle Beach. Just much bigger & much more culturally diverse.

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We were starving as we neared Ocean City, so our first order of business was dinner. We stopped at a burger joint on the boardwalk and took our dinner to the beach. I had a hot dog, G had a bacon cheeseburger. Both were fabulous.

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After our completely unhealthy dinner (and I mean really unhealthy… there was more cheese sauce in the bottom of the cup), we walked along the beach for a little while. I have never, ever seen a beach as wide as this one!

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The sand sculptures out there were amazing! The religious ones were beautiful, and considering they were roped off & had lighting, I would assume they were commissioned. The Frankenstein one was in the middle of the beach, which makes it so very cool.

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We continued heading down the boardwalk in search of an arcade. We we’re planning on an epic skee-ball showdown. After the first few games we stopped keeping track of who was winning. I’ll say I did, he’ll probably say he did. I will say I am pretty I’m the only one who made the 50 point mark. And I made it more than once…

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It was a really fun, random day & the boardwalk provided so many good people watching opportunities. The downfall: getting pooped on my a seagull.

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Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.

“I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Beef Checkoff. I received products to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.”

I could never become a vegetarian. I watch something depressing about the plight of farm animals and I always think I could, but then the thought of never having a Five Guys burger, or a Steak burrito bowl from Chipotle again, makes me sad. But the humane treatment of animals is also very important to me. The best way I’ve found to do my part to make sure animals are treated more humanely, and still be able to indulge in bacon cheeseburgers, is to buy higher quality meat products. More expensive? Yes. Worth it? Heck yes. I feel so much less guilty eating my food when I know where the animal came from and what kind of conditions they were raised in. Since higher quality meat is much more expensive, we eat much less of it, so it’s a very nice treat when we do have meat at home.

The point of my little ramble (I’ll spare you all of my thoughts about animal rights for another post) is that when I was asked by Mom Central Consulting & Beef Checkoff (part of the 1985 Farm Bill) to have a get together at home and include a beef dish as part of our dinner, I jumped at the chance. This opportunity was timed perfectly, since we had friends and family visiting for Charlotte and I was able to create a huge, delicious spread that would have been wasted on just the two of us.

When I was younger, and an avid soap opera addict, I always thought that entertaining & dinner parties should consist of fancy food, elegant clothes, wine in crystal glasses and maybe a waiter or two to pass hors d’oeuvre on silver platters. As an adult, I’ve realized that is a boring, and stuffy way to have friends and family over for dinner. Most of our friends and family members are fairly picky eaters, and I wanted to serve a dinner that would be easily customized to individual tastes. I thought a ‘Build Your Own Burger” bar would be the perfect, fun way to do that. And really, does anything scream “summer get together” like burgers?


As part of this opportunity, I received some great items to help put together my party, including some fantastic rub from Williams-Sonoma and an OXO digital thermometer. The rub would be amazing used, well, as a rub on any cut of meat, but I wanted to use it in my burgers. So, I sprinkled two teaspoons of the rub into the beef for a nice little burst of flavor. Everything was absolutely delicious, and dinner was a huge hit. Serving a casual food like burgers made for a really fun way to entertain. People were able to talk while they built their burgers, people were convinced to try toppings they may have been hesitant about, and everyone had a good time.
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I know burgers aren’t exactly complicated and you don’t really need a recipe. But here’s something you may not know: adding chopped vegetables to lean meat (I bought 93% hamburger meat) helps add moisture to the burger. So, here is how I made these:

  • 2 lbs. of lean ground beef (93%)
  • 2 cloves of garlic; minced
  • 1 small onion; finely diced
  • 2 t. of Williams-Sonoma butcher rub (or whatever rub/seasoning blend you like)

Once you have everything mixed together (be careful not to overmix), divide the burgers into eight equally sized burgers. Once they were made, I sent my husband to the grill and I worked on our set up. I love the way this came together. I used a large sheet of craft paper in place of a table cloth. Burgers are messy and I wanted this to be super fun & casual. I didn’t want people to worry about dropping a dollop of ketchup on a table cloth. This worked well, because I was also able to write on it. This came in handy for the cheese selection.
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We served almost every topping I could think of, and that I thought people would enjoy. We had high quality traditional toppings (bibb lettuce, farmers market tomatoes, thick cut bacon, sliced raw onions & pickles), and then we had more interesting toppings like caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and sliced, perfectly ripe avocado. And I’m not at all upset that no one ate avocado but me.
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The thing that put these delicious burgers over the top: special rolls. I had a couple of whole wheat Kaiser rolls, and I bought pretzel rolls from the bakery. I’ve decided every time I have a burger at home from here on out, it will be on a pretzel roll. These were so delicious!
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I wanted people to have a variety of cheeses to choose from, but I didn’t want to break the bank buying the pre-packaged cheeses. So, I went to the deli counter at the grocery store, and selected three cheeses that sounded interesting. I ended up with Chipotle Gouda (the one I chose for my burger-so good!), Vermont cheddar and horseradish cheddar. I also had some American slices in the fridge just in case… I am SO glad I went this route with cheese. I got 4 slices of each cheese, hoped everyone wouldn’t want the same one, and each pack cost about $1.70. Once everyone picked out their cheese, we just put the burger with cheese under the broiler for a minute to melt it, and then it went back to it’s owner.
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For the side dishes, I wanted to do classic “cook out” side dishes, with a more upscale twist. I made a simple pasta salad with English cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, parsley and Tessemae’s balsamic vinaigrette
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and I made a swiss chard salad with dried cranberries, carrots, sunflower seeds, lots of fresh basil and a lemon-Dijon vinaigrette. Both salads were so light & tasty, and were absolutely delicious!
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Once we devoured our burgers, my mind started going about 100 miles an hour, thinking of other delicious and exciting burger toppings. How about an pizza style burger: warm marinara in place of ketchup, a slice of mozzarella, and all of your favorite pizza toppings. Mine would have sautéed peppers and onions, olives, a few slices of pepperoni and the cheese melted over the top to hold it all in place. Or a taco burger. Just mix the taco seasoning into your beef, grill it up and then top it with salsa, guacamole, crushed tortilla chips and then either a slice of pepperjack or cheddar melted over the whole thing. The opportunities for burger creativity are endless!

For more information about the benefits of cooking with beef (and some really delicious recipes), check out these helpful sites:
Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner
Beef’s Essential Nutrients

What I’m Loving Wednesday: My 2014-2015 Erin Condren Planner

Last month in a ‘What I’m Loving Wednesday‘ post, I shared my desire for either an Erin Condren life planner or an Emily Ley Simplicity planner. I went with the Erin Condren, and I’ve had it for a week now, and I absolutely love it.

The classic life planner comes pretty standard. You pick the style of the planner, but the insides of them are all the same (from what I can tell). You know me & my overwhelming & all consuming love for monograms, and this one was as close as I could get ;) I know a lot of people think a planner is a wasteful thing these days. I mean, we have smartphones and iPads and technology that can keep track of anything and everything we need it to. But I’m very old school when it comes to planners. I like having a book that I can put in my purse (although the size of this thing is pushing it…), make notes as needed, scribble out a to-do list, and have the satisfaction of crossing things off of said to-do list. It is impossible to get that same level of satisfaction deleting something from your phone.

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The planner starts and ends with a yearly calendar spread, which I appreciate. I obviously chose to have my planner include the rest of 2014 & 2015, so all of those months are represented in this spread. At the end of the planner is a spread with smaller boxes that includes all of 2016 & 2017.
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The month at a glance page is my favorite. Some of the planners I’ve seen on Instagram are completely decked out with washi tape, stickers, very cool artistic doodles, etc. I’m not that creative, and this is a planner. If I wanted a scrapbook, I’d make an actual scrapbook. The washi tape signifies big plans, like a house guest or travel plans. The small, rectangular stickers came with the planner, and note birthdays. I’m using the notes column on the side for general information, such as budgeting info and to-do’s that don’t have a specific deadline. I love the colors & the inspirational quote at the top of the page. The amount of color in this planner was what finally made up my mind between this and the Emily Ley planner. I like color…
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The weekly pages allow me to go into a little more detail than I can on the monthly page. I’m trying to do better about having a regular blogging schedule, and not just flying by the seat of my pants. Since I typically do my blogging in the morning, it made sense to use the morning blocks for that. I like that I have enough space to write notes about that days blog topic. Obviously for the week I took a picture of I haven’t done much planning yet, but I have topics, so it’s a start. Right? Right. I also use the bottom block (night) to track my medicines. I LOVE checking things off of a list, so even though I’m pretty good about remembering my vitamins & birth control, I write them in for an added reminder and the opportunity to check something off. ;)

The extra lined spaces at the bottom of the page are currently being used for the weeks dinners, but I may change that to the notes & goals section on the side. I make a menu every week, but I don’t always feel like having what I planned on that specific night. So, if I put it on the side, I’ll still have all of our dinners listed, but won’t feel obligated to have a certain thing on a certain night. I’m also using that side column to track my weekly weigh in and measurements.

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Once you get through all of the calendar pages, there is a “notes” section with 25 lined pages (front and back). When you order a planner, you can choose from a ton of add-ons. One of which is a cute notepad that matches the planner. I’d skip that for the time being, personally. There are so many places to make notes IN the planner, and you have these note pages. You can always go back and order the notepad, and I probably will once I’ve used up all of these note sheets.
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There are four sheets of stickers included with the planner. One sheet is nothing but birthday stickers. Most of the other sheet of printed ones will probably never get used by me. They say “day off”, have various appointments written on them, “Sale”, “concert”, “mani/pedi”, “party”, and “vacation”. I’d love to use the vacation ones… Then they’ve included two sheets of colorful, blank stickers.
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After the stickers, there is a double sided pocket. A perpetual calendar has been included to write down birthdays and anniversaries. Love the pocket. Mine is already full of recipes I’ve printed off at work and random things I’ve torn out of magazines and catalogues.
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Behind the pocket there is also a sealable pouch. This is PERFECT for business cards, appointment cards for doctors appointments or hair appointments, stamps, address labels, etc.
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Inside the pouch were some printed labels (in addition to an envelope full of labels that were in the box!). I LOVE the personal ones that match the planner, but the other ones are really cute too. I love sending care packages to people, so I can’t wait to use some of these.
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The only thing I’m not completely pleased with is the pen loop. I hate that it’s white, because it’s already dirty. Also, since it needed to stretch out a little, the only way I could initially fit my pen in it was to take the cap off, put the point in first and then re-cap it. So, this white pen loop is already covered in pink sharpie ink. But that is a very, very small flaw.
2014-08-11 01.44.40I know these things are expensive. I had a coupon code, that made mine $45 plus shipping. But honestly, I don’t think that is such an outrageous price. I mean, the cheapo one I picked up from Target first was $13. It was wimpy and I know it wouldn’t have held up and looked decent for any period of time. As is my policy with most things, I’d rather spend a little bit more and get something that will last.

So, if I’ve convinced you that you need one of these planners, buy one with my link. You’ll get $10 off of your order, and I get a $10 credit. It’s a win-win for everyone ;)

(Oh, and I wasn’t perked or compensated for this review in any way. I just love my planner and want to share the love.)


Recipe: Salmon with Pea Risotto

2014-08-08 05.32.51 Once upon a time, Graham and I eloped and then had dinner with our families at one of my favorite restaurants, Kings Kitchen. I ordered the salmon with pea risotto, and it was completely delicious. The green risotto weirded out most of our family members, but I’ve long learned not to care about the fact that my family thinks that 99% of the things I eat are strange.

I love recreating all of the wonderful meals I’ve had at restaurants, and I don’t know why it has taken me so long to recreate this one. It’s definitely a winner, though. And easy enough for a weeknight meal, yet pretty enough for company. The best part about making it at home is being able to give the risotto as much or as little pea flavor was you want. Once the peas were pureed, I added a cup of the puree. Graham thought it needed more pea flavor, so I added a little more puree.


  • 2 cups of frozen peas; thawed
  • 1 cup of baby spinach
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of Pinot Grigio
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of arborio rice
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan
  • 1 small onion; chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic; minced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Puree peas, spinach & one cup of chicken stock in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
  2. Bring the remaining stock to a simmer. When it’s hot, but not boiling, reduce heat to low.
  3. In a large skillet with high sides melt two tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the onion. Cook until it is translucent, then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter.
  5. Add the wine and stir once. Let simmer until the wine has almost evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add a ladle of the stock, and stir until almost all of the stock has been absorbed. Keep doing this, adding one ladle of stock at a time (stirring constantly) until all of the stock is gone. This takes about 20 minutes.
  7. Add in the pureed peas (as much or as little as you want. This is 1 & 1/2 cups) and stir until the liquid from the peas has been absorbed. Stir in the shredded cheese.

And for the salmon…


  • 4 4oz. portions of salmon
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil


  1. Brush tops of salmon with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
  2. Move an oven rack to the top position and preheat the broiler.
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook salmon skin side down for 3-4 minutes. Move to the broiler and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Perfect salmon is so easy to cook. I bought this gorgeous Coho salmon from Whole Foods during their one day sale. $8.99? Yes, please! Move an oven rack to the top section of the oven, and preheat the broiler. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the salmon skin side down for 3-4 minutes. Then move the pan to the oven and let the salmon finish cooking underneath the broiler. It usually takes another 2-3 minutes. 2014-08-08 05.33.03

A Low Key Weekend

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! After non-stop travel the past few weekends, and a few back to back weekends of travel coming up, we decided to stay close to home.

So, a weekend at home consists of:

Lots of good food.

2014-08-08 05.32.51(salmon & pea risotto; recipe coming soon.)

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(dim sum. We went for dim sum with a couple from our apartment building. It was my first time having dim sum, and it definitely will not be my last.)

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(an amazing vegetarian lasagna. Recipe for this also coming soon…)

We took a different route on our nightly walk in Yorktown…

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(a new route means new deer for Hermione…)

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(and new history for me. This is Moore House, the house where the terms of the British surrender were established.)

We spent a couple of hours laying by the pool…

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(the pool was pretty much deserted today, which was so weird. There were maybe four people out there, and no kids. It was so quiet, and so different from the chaos that comes along with kids that we experienced at the beginning of the summer.)

All in all it was a good weekend. Very relaxing We also sold our ancient washer and dryer on Craigslist! Now we have more room in our storage unit, and it’s two less really heavy things we’ll have to move next time we move.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!