Monday, April 14, 2014

dinner simplified: fancy grilled cheese sandwiches

Goodness friends, I'm sorry I've been such a spotty blogger lately.  We are at the height of busyness in our house at this very moment (ramping up to a high school graduation + another high schooler + middle school + track practices + my son + a bunch, bunch more).  I often stop myself during the whirlwind evening marathon and think about how this could possibly be the peak of our wild family-life roller coaster- these final six months of having all four of our kids still living under our roof.  So, instead of borrowing precious time to blog, I am simply enjoying the ride, trying to take it all in right now.  And, it's good.  Oh, so good.  I love this life I lead.  What a blessing!

But even, in the midst of the hubbub, I still have to make sure chores are done, errands are run and dinner is made.  It never ends.  So, like I've discussed before, I've radically simplified our dinners in order to make them less overwhelming, but still a priority.  I will always believe in the power of family dinners.

Tonight I made these:


This one is actually Wes', since he is still not home from work yet (work emergency), and we all finished eating before he has come home.  My kids raved about these sandwiches, and honestly, it only took me 15 minutes to crank out six of them.  Much faster than enchiladas or a roast, and just as delicious.  But, mostly they were simple and easy.  I didn't have to think much about it, just looked in the fridge and thought about what would taste good on a grilled cheese sandwich.  So, of course, bacon and avocado were included, plus a bit of ham and suddenly I had a dinner to feed the masses.  Oh, and I did add a touch of ranch dressing as well.

 If you're interested in the recipe (I just made up), here it is:

Makes 6 sandwiches

1 loaf of Italian artisan bread (mine is from Trader Joe's, but a loaf of Costco's Pugliese would be perfect too)
Half a package of bacon- fried in advance
1 avocado
12 or so slices of cheddar cheese
12 or so slices of black forest ham (from Costco)
Ranch dressing

Butter both slices of bread and layer all the above ingredients inside.  Toast each side until golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Serve!



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

San Francisco road trip 2014

If you follow me, or my girls, on Instagram then you are well aware of our Spring Break road trip to San Francisco.  My mom and I had been itching to take my girls on a trip there for a while, so the last week in March seemed like the perfect time to make that happen.



All three of my girls had never been to S.F., so they really had no idea what to expect.  We were staying in Concord, so each morning we drove into the city, and it wasn't until we drove them down Lombard St. did they really start to "see" what was in store.





I had read up a bunch on where to eat while we were in the city.  Our first day, we stopped for lunch at Tony's and it was fantastic.  We ordered three smallish pies to share (a New Yorker, a Margarita and a cheese).  All were delicious, but the New Yorker was the show stopper.  Delicious!






We walked a lot while in the city, making sure to hit Union Square at least once.









We also went down to Fisherman's Wharf, which was predictably busy and touristy, but we had to do it once.






The girls seemed particularly thrilled with our stop at Ghirardelli Square.  They didn't really know what it was all about, so when the free samples started flowing and the aroma of chocolate enveloped us, well, they were in heaven.





We also stopped by the famous Painted Ladies (aka Full House houses), because we have seen every single episode of Full House, and because it was a beautiful view of the city.








The next day we came into the city with the plan of renting bikes and riding across the Golden Gate Bridge.





Somehow David Hasselhoff got onto some of my phone pics.  I blame Alice!



Riding across the bridge was awesome.  We stopped every so often to take pictures and enjoy the breathtaking views.






Once across we rode down into Sausalito to spend some time wandering the streets and to later catch the ferry back across the water.


(Best ice cream ever!)








Sausalito is so beautiful!


The girls very much enjoyed the ferry ride.




We had amazing views of Alcatraz, from the ferry.





When we were back on shore, we rode our bikes along the waterfront and back to the bike shop (I think we rode 8-9 miles that day).



Later we headed to Chinatown






Alice finally found a license plate with her name on it!


We say a lot of street dwellers while driving around the city.


Later that evening we ate at the best sandwich shop I have ever been to.  I had the Pastrami-Charmed-Life sandwich and my mouth is now watering just thinking about it.  Yum!




(seriously)


On our way home we drove through the Redwoods.  Unfortunately, it was a miserably wet day that particular day.  But, we did stop and have lunch at the most beautiful and high-tech Wendy's I've ever seen in Eureka.  So...





Finally, the next morning we had breakfast at the Morning Glory restaurant in Ashland Oregon.  I've been there once before, and it was divine.  If you ever have the opportunity to eat there I highly recommend it!





Cate and I shared the white chocolate pancakes with strawberry butter.  Oh, so good.






Finally we headed home.  Back to our boys and our regular lives.  Thank you so much to my parents for being a big part of making this very memorable trip happen.  We love you two!!!!