I hate raisins.

As much as I hate to admit it, I am just as bad as the next sucker.

My new years resolution involves being healthy, and taking care of myself.

I took a beating moving out here to Cali. It was genuinely one of the more challenging times of my life. With that in mind, I am turning a new page in life! I have realized that if you are going to leave behind the person you were before, you can’t expect to drag a little bit of them with you and hope things will work out.

This is where my fitness goals for this year come into play. I am not the person I was before, so this should be easier….for new Stephanie that is.

I’m adding a mile to my run every month. I am going to be able to run 12 miles by the end of the year. (maybe more, if I surprise myself!)

Also, I have to eat better. As a snack today was yogurt and raisins. It was all I had in the house, and it is encouraging me to go to Trader Joe’s STAT to find better snacks!

Well, Happy New year all. I’ll be here more often to talk about how sore my legs are. :3

Just the two of us – Apple Pie Pockets: 2 Servings

Since I’ve moved to LA, I’ve quickly realized that I don’t know how to cook/bake for two. Here is a really quick recipe for apple pie pockets, good enough for the both of you.

Apple Pie Pockets

2 Tablespoons butter

2 large granny smith apples (peeled and diced)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon corn starch

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pie crust

I started with store bought pie crust because I was in a hurry and had already spent a lot of time with dinner. Roll out dough on a flat surface and cut out 4 circles, roughly 4″ in diameter.

Preheat oven to 400F

In a medium saucepan melt butter over low heat, add apples and sautee until softened.

Add remaining dry ingredients and continue to cook over medium heat for 4-6 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Allow filling to cool off.

Spoon filling into center of two of the circles, using the empty remaining circles to cover. Press the edges with a fork to seal.

Place pie pockets on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Power

I have a lot of dear friends from when I used to go to church. To save you time, I won’t talk about religion or my views on it, but I was reading what one of them said recently, and I was awestruck by the power behind the words they used. 

 

I guess I forgot what it was like to “claim” things over my life, favor, blessings, honor. These words are not as shallow as most mainstream christians appear to be. It was refreshing to actually “hear” what she was saying, because it reminded me what principles Jesus was teaching, and what can be found as a common thread in a lot of faiths. 

 

Sometimes, I really hate who I was, because I judged and I was angry. To hell with anyone who follows a faith and thinks they don’t do the same. All religions are flawed, but there are some incredible redeeming factors behind many of them. 

A $3 Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Although to the average mind, $3 doesn’t seem outrageous. I want you to think about the trade off though…ONE COOKIE!

 

I had figured, it was either outrageous, or really, really worth it. Lucky for me, it was the latter.

 

The cookie was warm, soft, with a little bit of crisp to it. I had my choices of milk (I went with 2% although I wanted whole milk).

I have to admit, it really is the most delicious cookie I’ve ordered from somewhere in a long time.

 

If you’d like your own little bite of happiness, Go to The Market in Santa Monica.

3rd Floor
395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Aurelie – The Cookie Guru

The Best LA Burger

This has been a grueling 6 month process, but I think the votes are in.
Being from south eastern part of the United States, and having a lot of grilling and bbq-ing in my life, I think I know a good burger. Plus, I’ve collected the weight to prove it.

In this search, we looked for a few basic rules:

1: The meat of the burger itself has to be the best part. Not the sauce, not the fancy cheese, the meat. No meat, no burger. (Sorry vegans)

2: ITS A BURGER. I don’t want to pay $30, and wait 45 minutes – 1 hour to eat one. End of story.

3: Be flexible, not everyone wants your pounds of blue cheese and bitter arugela lettuce. Make this stuff to order!

Dress it up all you want, but a burger is a burger, so top five you’ll find in The City of Angels?:

#5 Apple Pan

Delicious burger, and a classic for the area. Vintage feel, and the place is always busy. I was pretty convinced a knife fight would have started with the right combination of people there based on seating. Not only is it first come first find a seat, you eat with people “vulturing” over you waiting for you to finish so they can sit. Needless to say, eating in wasn’t a comfortable experience. I do love that they had cream soda to drink!! Reason it is number five? The sauce, their “own sauce” was really overpowering…well and the seating was too stressful to go back.

#4 In-N-Out Burger

I know what you west coaster’s are thinking, “How could this crazy from the east coast say our beloved in and out burger is number four!?” Because, its just a fast food burger, that’s why. Albeit, a damn good one. In and Out redeems itself, and gets to the number four spot because of their low prices, and “secret” menu. You can really truly get a burger your way, and I think that is pretty righteous. When it boils down to it though, it still is only a fast food place.

#3 The Counter

My mind was blown. Build your own burger…but really do it. The menu is a checklist and you tell them what you want. My last creation had black bean salsa, gruyere cheese, ranch dressing, and grilled pineapple! (Don’t judge me, it was delicious!). This is my go to place for a burger, but it isn’t number one because they can’t really take credit for how awesome I am with checklist menus.

#2 Golden  State

I love this restaurant. The people that work there were wonderful, nice, and didn’t make us feel like we were inconveniencing them. (That happens A LOT in LA, sometimes people are too cool to do their job :( lame). Our dining experience was calm, quiet, and the food came out really quickly. The burger itself was simple, perfectly cooked, and juicy. I could write miles about this burger joint, but I’ll just say for now that you NEED to go here.

#1 Umami Burger

They should call it black magic burger. It was incredible. They make their own ketchup, and its delicious, the cheese is only a crisp of cheese, and it is perfection. The overall flavor was subtle, and well blended. They say that you’ll crave it, and I agree. Why is it number one?! Because it may have changed my life. Downfalls: Depending on the one you visit, the wait time may be excessive. They charge $3 for Mexican coke! Outrageous!! When you go, order the smushed potatoes, you won’t regret it!

Dishonorable mention: Father’s Office

I heard so many good things, but the burger was terrible. I had to peel away about three layers of caked on cheese just to find the meat of the burger, which was decent at best. The lettuce was bitter and did nothing for the overall flavor of the burger, and I felt like the most enjoyable part was the coke I was drinking to wash it down. I was surprised a bar wasn’t better at bar food. Go for the alcohol, not for the burger.

What do I want to do with my life?

This question is becoming the bane of my existence. You will more than likely get a different response based on who you speak with, but what I am finding is that overall you will get  the same general response: “What makes you happy?”

That answer, I would wager, is the problem to my question. A lot of things make me happy. Baking, coloring, singing, pretending I can write music, writing short stories, talking to people, watching movies, making movies, playing with my cat, swimming, scuba diving, video editing. With this response, a lot of people then divert to: “Well, if you had an endless supply of money, what would you do?”

To which I reply, MORE BULLSHIT! These questions don’t navigate your life. If anything, they confuse you more. I am a 24 year old film school drop out, who after 6 years of pursuit am finally (hopefully) getting my general studies associates degree from the community college I took duel enrollment courses at IN HIGH SCHOOL. I have been working as a tour guide and customer service rep for the past five or so years because I was born with this damn silver spoon in my mouth. No, really…I am so good at communicating with people I don’t know, you would think that I blend the Blarney Stone for breakfast and drink it like a smoothie.

So when you ask me “If you had an endless supply of money…?” I tell you what most people would, I would travel. I would spend time with my family, and my boyfriend. I would learn about other cultures, I would learn how to shoot a bow and arrow, and tap dance, and create pottery. God knows what else.

Unfortunately, being a full time student is NOT a lucrative career.

 

I suppose the reason I am so worked up about the issue is because people ask me this on a daily basis at work. “What do you want to do?” People love to ask tour guides this question. I think mostly because it is universally acknowledged that being a tour guide is one of the most unappreciated jobs. No, I don’t think I deserve a Nobel Prize, and yes I will admit that being a server or working retail is a close competitor, but for the most part, this job is up there with awful career paths. I guess I was just hoping that by now, I would have figured out where I want my life to take me.

I used to be so self assured when I was younger, and part of me thinks that I hate my younger self SO much, that my aspirations as a youth are tainted as well. I can’t even come close to connecting with the dreams I had when I was in high school, because I can’t connect with who I was then.

Butterbeer cupcakes

A few things:

My life has been hectic.

I do have a list, its not finished, but I felt that it deserved more time than I was giving it…I’m also lying and I’m just a slacker. I have a list, its not finished, but its because I started it and was distracted.

I went home, to O-town for a week. Accomplished a lot more than I thought I would. It seems I will be graduating in the fall with my Associates! For those of you that know me well you will understand how frustrating this process has been. I am really proud of myself! I also had a lot of other things accomplished, but that is for another time.

Now for what brought you here:

Butterbeer.Cupcakes.

Dear GOD,

Thank you for Amybites and her genius.

Love,

Stephanie.

I am not going to write out her recipe, but I will tell you my sister and I made these late in the afternoon and we both decided that they really do taste like Butterbeer. If you don’t know what Butterbeer is, PICK UP THE HARRY POTTER BOOKS AND READ THEM! Or at the very least watch the movies…just read the books.

A few things we changed:

#1: In this house, we don’t put “suprise fillings” into cupcakes, so we didn’t pump the ganache into the cupcakes.

#2: I used Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste, therefore my pictures have these cute little vanilla bean specks. I am obsessed with the stuff, and it makes me feel special.

#3: This isn’t different, just an observation – if you don’t put the ganache into the cupcakes, you could probably use about half of what the recipe calls for. I threw away A LOT of butterscotch :(

BUTTERBEER CUPCAKES

By : amybites

There, now that that is out of the way. My list:

Life Goals:

Be happy with what I have, and accept my surroundings peacefully.

Fitness Goals:

Run:

Culver City Park without stopping

5K

10K

 

Half Marathon

Marathon

Triathalon

Hike Half Dome

Travel:

Visit all 50 states

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

 

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Georgia

Florida

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Mexico

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Visit every continent

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Cave Dive

Education:

Finish  Associates Degree

Learn two languages other fluently:

French

Russian

Learn the names of all of the countries in the world, and their locations by heart.

Hobbies:

Knit a scarf

Quilt a blanket

Learn to “professionally” decorate a cake.

Emotional:

Not have an emotional break down for one month

Forgive others

Meditate on a regular basis

Minimalistic:

Go without Internet for a month

Go without my phone for a week

Go without GPS for a day (yeah…its that bad)

Career:

Post at least 10 different items on Etsy account

Resolutions of Ice Cream

My boyfriend has finally figured out the key to my happiness, simply put, Ice Cream.

I claim that I am not a fan, but deep down inside it is my favorite comfort food.

#1: I never feel guilty after eating ice cream (mostly because it isn’t greasy, so I don’t feel dirty)

#2: It makes my aching stomach feel better

#3: Do I really need a number three to tell you that ice cream is awesome?

Now I am not a flavor person, he has also learned that I like bland. Saltines, Sprite, Vanilla ice cream, plain milk, slices of white bread…or really any bread…you hopefully get the idea. The flavor has less to do with anything, its more about the texture.

“What is her point?” You may ask, as you tap your foot aggressively.

I understand, you are angry….I left your for MONTHS with no contact, not even a hello! I am the worst blogger ever. But I return to tell happy and sad stories.

I don’t have a point. But I do have a commitment, I want to set goals, and accomplish them. I have seen these lists floating around the internet of things other people want to accomplish. I am going to make my own list, of undecided length, and I will update my blog later this week. If you are reading, its really hard for me to hold myself accountable for things, please feel free to chime in and ask how my list is going, I would be happy to cross things off as they go.

#1: Post my list of goals by Saturday May 21st @ 11:59PM (eep! The end of the world! I hope the internet will still work!!)

Friends in unlikely places

You learn a lot about yourself when you move, and change your life completely. One of the things you really start to learn, is which friends you have that actually take an active interest in your life. If you ever brave the change, I promise you will be surprised at the results.

I am very grateful for the people I have in my life. I’m going to eloquently leave it at that. So, if you have been there to lend an ear, eat creme brulee with me, listen to me cry, or send me shiny bunnies….I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am humbled by how loving the people I know can be.

Forgive me if I am emotional, today has been a long, and tiring day. If you could see me now, I have a lot of mascara on my face.

I should update you on my job search, as it has currently come to a hiatus. I accepted a job offer with a studio, and am one of their tour guides. Today was my first day of training, which explains why I am so tired!

It was nice to socialize, I can see it taking me a few weeks to get back into the swing of working, but I think in the long run this job is going to lead to bigger and better things.

Chris and I accomplished a goal of ours, we saw snow and went to the beach in the same weekend. Actually, we did better than just see snow, we were snowed on! It was so wonderful, I had this enormous grin on my face the whole time. I think it made me really happy to see him happy.

We drove out to the mountains, it took us about an hour and as we ascended the mountain, signs indicated that the top might be closed due to weather. Nevertheless we pushed forward in hopes that things had cleared up, only to find that the top was indeed closed. Chris seemed pretty bummed out, so we pulled the car over and walked around this little river for a while. He snapped photos, I threw large rocks into the water and complained that it was starting to rain. Thats when it happened, the rain wasn’t rain anymore, it was snow! Glorious, beautiful snow. In my head I was so happy we saw what we drove all the way up here to see after all.

It was the most glorious weekend.

 

I have studying to do, and words to write that are not as happy as these. I am going to push through and carry on.

Heh…hello mister magic plane person…

Oh my goodness, I’m sorry, its like I took a blogging nap…one that lasted just a bit too long.

 

I am going to be honest with you, I haven’t had anything remotely positive to say for the past few weeks, so that explains my absence. Really though, if you read some of the things I was writing, you would have gotten in your sad pool for a long swim.

I am doing better though, things are looking up. As far as jobs go, I will leave it at I heard from a company I am VERY interested in working for, so I am patiently waiting to see how that plays out. Financially I received a blessing from the Government in the form of a Tax Return. As it turns out, there was a very small benefit from working for a company that pays its employees poorly. YAY!

Chris and I went to dinner with another couple, a guy he works with and his wife. It was so nice to have the chance to talk to people. I went from meeting roughly 20 strangers, spending 5 hours talking to them, to sitting in my house talking to my cat, and sometimes my one lovely friend.

 

Now you are starting to understand why unemployment is a challenge for us tour guides. Well, it is for everyone.

 

I have a lot of errands to run today, mainly making sure my Gym membership is canceled, and I start my Couch Potato to 5K “training”. I made Chris promise me that if I can run a marathon in a year then we will go on a Disney Vacation and I will run the Disney Half-Marathon Marathon!

 

I made apple turnovers, which means I have a recipe I am working on posting, but that will come later in the week. Until then, I apologize for my depressed sabbatical, i will report back with flaky apple goodness later!