I have missed writing my "Bites of Life" posts for the past couple weeks, another testament to just how busy I've been. I love sharing other tidbits of my life with all of you as there is a lot more living going on outside my kitchen.
So when I left off here a couple of weeks ago, I was just starting to replant my indoor succulents. I love having cactus as houseplants, they seem to be the only thing I can keep alive inside the house. I never remember to water the cute little ferns and other delicate plants, killing them all within weeks.
The chocolates I made at Harry & David also arrived. I absolutely loved them and am happy to report they disappeared rather quickly. They looked so pretty and it was hard not to stuff them in my mouth with every pass through the kitchen. So I did.
I have some great mail days, but I must say this particular arrival from Hawaii was very meaningful. A favorite employee from the resort we always stay in Hawaii sent us an "out of the blue" package of treats.
We were so touched by this personal gift from him. He always goes out of his way to make our trip special, which is not part of his job at all! I guess that's what makes all his extra attention so nice.
Now what did he send, Chocolate Brownies, Kona Coffee Cookies, Macadamia Nut Cookies and another beautiful box of white and dark dipped macadamia nut chocolates, which I cannot find on the Big Island Candies site.
Anyway, this was an incredibly thoughtful gift and we will never forget it. We can't wait to get back to Hawaii this summer.
And then came Easter. This year I chose to use green and orange as the color palette for my table as opposed to the green and blue I decorated with last year.
I did get new napkins and rings from Pier 1. Aren't they pretty?
This woodland looking bunny was my centerpiece. He was the shape of a ball, which made him more whimsical overall.
I always use my collection of Martha Stewart jadeite glass bunnies on the Easter table. This year they were full of chocolate eggs...last year, hard-boiled eggs.
I thought these were adorable...little chicks with bunny ears.
I used two types of water glasses on the table, which I think adds interest to the overall tablescape.
Easter morning came with lots of sunshine pouring in through the windows. We had fifteen for brunch, a perfect sized crowd as far as I'm concerned.
We started Easter brunch with lots of sparkling wine among other things. Appetizers included my Smoked Salmon Taco Bar, Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake, Puff Pastry Blueberry & Raspberry Danish (which I have not yet posted a recipe for) and big huge strawberries with sour cream & brown sugar for dipping.
Brunch included old stand-bys for me, Baked Ham & Cheese French Toast, Baked Blueberry & Brown Sugar French Toast, Roasted Asparagus, Cheesy-Crushed Rosemary Roasted Red Potato Coins, homemade cinnamon rolls and thick-cut bacon.
Dessert was also amazing. A friend brought homemade coconut cream pie and we also indulged in these Lime Meringue Cakes and I made an angel food meringue cake with lemon curd.
We had so much fun celebrating that day. Brunch lasted until 8 PM! That's a sign of a good party.
Like I've said, boxes of all kinds of food are shipped to my house almost daily. I recently received a giant package full of All But Gluten products. While I am not gluten free, I have to say I was pretty impressed by some of these. My absolute favorite was their coconut macaroons. What's unique about these products is they are sold fresh in the bakery, not frozen. This is a Canadian company that has now moved into the U.S. markets. Look for them at your store.
Last weekend I headed to San Diego. I mentioned recently my cousin passed away from cancer. We went to celebrate her life and make the best of the time we had with family.
Our flight was very early in the morning. A 2 am wake up call to get to the airport meant we were devoid of coffee and breakfast before landing in San Diego, California. "Old Town" San Diego is only about 2 miles from the airport and that's where we headed to grab some authentic Mexican breakfast food. Something we miss up here in Oregon.
Have you ever been to Old Town in San Diego? It's a great place to eat...especially the homemade tortillas made everywhere. It is thought to be the "birthplace of California". There are many preserved buildings and museums, which take you back in time to the early days of the state.
Among the historic sites there is Mexican lore everywhere, colorful shops and lovely outdoor restaurants. It's a great place to walk around and then indulge in an authentic Mexican meal. My boys loved the area as they don't remember the many times we had been there when they were little.
That same evening we had a huge dinner with some of my extended family at Sea 180o at the Pier South Resort. Even though we were together for a somber occasion, we made the best of it. I had this for dinner and this for dessert.
The Pier South Resort is also where the funeral service was held. It's truly a beautiful hotel, very modern and sophisticated. The rooms sit right on the water and are exquisite.
The service was on the rooftop. It couldn't have been a more beautiful, peaceful and serene spot. Honestly, I have never been to a nicer funeral, if you can say that. It wasn't religious, but included all of her family and children speaking about her and remembering what a wonderful person she was. The service and the all-day and night party that followed was truly a meaningful celebration of her life.
The next day we had a late evening flight home and had all day to soak up the beautiful California sunshine. We headed over to Coronado Island to enjoy some of the softest sand on a California beach.
Walking along this gorgeous strip of shoreline made me feel a little nostalgic and wonder why I ever left this picture perfect area. Even though I love our life in Oregon, I miss the big beaches and the constant sun. However, I do think I appreciate it more now that I'm gone.
I took the kids into the Coronado Hotel to learn about the history of this place and explain to them that it's built entirely of wood. Pretty amazing. To their dismay, we didn't see any of the rumored ghosts on this visit.
Sand castles leftover from a wedding were on the beach.
And this was a wedding on the sand getting ready to happen at sunset. It was so beautiful with all those rose petals.
We also didn't leave California without eating a lot of this.
I returned home to a crate of California avocados...it couldn't have been more perfect.
And later this week a whole box of Good Food Made Simple showed up on my door. I've had the penne pasta and the breakfast in a bowl and have to say....yum. Healthy ingredients and good taste on both.
Things I’ve seen around the web this week:
Two favorite cocktails mixed into one.
Tips for make-ahead brunch.
A yummy twist on enchiladas.
I can't decide if these are breakfast or dessert.
Would you do this to your fridge?
Oh my gosh this cake.
An easy summer dessert.
I have so much mint in the garden so this will be made.
Love these cookies.
Perfect Cinco de Mayo dessert.
Oh my word, these!
A yummy sounding twist on taquitos.
Another way to use all my mint.
Great travel advice.
Wow, I want this for breakfast!
Love the flavors in this dessert.
Sounds like a yummy cake combo to me.
An easy dinner I'm going to try.
Cinco de Mayo ice cream!
Another salad I need to try.
Just Oh my gosh.
The cutest cookies for a fiesta...what talent.
My kiddos would lick this up.
100 Fabulous Crock Pot Recipes.
Hello beans, I love you.
Quick and easy dip.
More ideas for all my mint.
Loving this twist on guacamole.
Love this coffee.
Hello beautiful cake.
Oh but this dessert too!
The perfect simple sandwich.
Frosting shots? Yes, please!
Get out the slow cooker.
Looking for Cinco de Mayo recipes?
I want this salad.
That is all friends, until next time. See other editions of Bites of Life.
Two years ago: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives ~ Miami Beach, 11th Street Diner
Six Years Ago: Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing