Creamy Salsa Verde

Creamy Salsa Verde

Hey y’all! Okay, anyone from Texas knows that chips and dip is basically its own food group. There’s hot sauce, green sauce, queso, guacamole…the list goes on. A little while ago, I pinned this Creamy Salsa Verde recipe from Savvy Style, Mindful Home. Typically, I just view things on Pinterest as a way to make me feel like a frumpy, non-crafty, terrible cook who is bad at applying make up and unable to adequately decorate my home for holidays or throw a party. However, every once in a while, I dig through my 636 pins (not an exaggeration) and attempt to improve my feelings of inadequacy. I typically love green sauce at Mexican restaurants but honestly never have any idea what it contains. I hoped this simple recipe would have a similar taste, so I spent a little time one afternoon whipping it up.

I have listed the ingredients and directions below. Something to keep in mind though, is that this recipe is very versatile and customizable. For example, if you love cilantro (I’m looking at you, Sassy Kat), throw an extra handful in. My husband loves lime, so I squeezed in some extra lime juice. Feel free to make it your own with your favorite ingredients!

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First things first: wash your hands. Kidding! But seriously. Then, gather up all of your supplies! If you don’t have a food processor, I’m sure a blender would work just as well.

Supplies

 

Follow along with these easy steps to create the salsa.

1Tomatillos 2Avocado 3Garlic 4Onion5onioncry6jalapeno

Seriously, make sure you remove all of the jalapeรฑo seeds…those little buggers are HOT. Also, if you get any jalapeรฑo juice on your hands, make sure to wash them immediately. If that juice gets in your eye accidentally, you will not be finishing this salsa. And you will be writhing on your kitchen floor in pain.
7limeroll8lime 9cilantro 10salt 11blend 12jarOnce you’re done, it can be served immediately or poured into a container to be chilled in the refrigerator. One option is a leftover pickle jar that your husband keeps asking why you’re saving. (See, babe!? I TOLD you I’d find a use for it! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) You can simply eat it with chips and dip, or it can be poured over tacos to add some flavor.

My thoughts? This salsa is okay. I tried it with some Tostitos immediately after I blended it, and I was NOT a fan. However, even though I wanted to throw it all away, I let it chill for a day. I tried it again, and it was MUCH tastier after the flavors had a chance to blend and “marinate” some. Overall, I would give it 3 out of 5 hoots.

Owl ScaleIf you’re having a fiesta and you want a variety of salsas for your guests to sample, give it a whirl. DON’T let it be your only option though, or you may have some angry Texans on your hands. Better to play it safe with some guacamole or queso ;). And the best option of all? Just drive to Pappasito’s and get a bag of their chips and a jar of their salsa. No one will complain then. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Smells Like Fall!

Smells Like FallY’all. A big part of me wants to keep these a secret, so I can hoard them ALL. I always thought Bath & Body Works was just good for cheap anti-bacterial hand gels and fruity body sprays for 11-year olds. My, how I was mistaken. For the past year or so, I have been purchasing their foaming hand soaps when they’re on sale, because they’re my husband’s favorite kind of soap. Their wide range of scents are always fun to peruse, but I never branched out much more. THAT was before I discovered their candles. Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious. Seriously. RUN. Don’t walk, to buy 3 or more of them. Here are my 2 favorite scents right now…

CandlesFirst, let’s chat about Marshmallow Fireside. The description on the bottom of the candle says, “Celebrate the changing season with a warm blend of toasted marshmallows, smoldering woods and creamy vanilla reminiscent of a cozy evening ’round the bonfire.” Is that image alone not enough to make you want this heavenly wax miracle? If not, then you’re crazy. Personally this candle makes me want to be wearing leggings with fuzzy socks and an oversized sweater decorating the Christmas tree while A Charlie Brown Christmas album plays in the background. (Another immediate “must buy,” if you don’t have it in your music collection)

Marshmallow FiresideSecondly, is Leaves, which is probably my favorite of the two. Its description states, “Celebrate the brilliant colors of autumn with this rich blend of golden nectar, red apple and spiced berries.” Now, we all know in Texas, the “brilliant colors of autumn” are green and brown. Woo. However, don’t let that sway you from buying this scented piece of joy. When I burn this (basically every day…), all I want to do is put on my comfiest sweats, curl up with my softest blanket by a lamp, and reread Harry Potter while listening to a thunderstorm. This candle is basically coziness in wax form. Also, apparently burning candles makes me want to dress like a frumpy slob.

Leaves

I’m sure after these glowing descriptions you’re like, “Woah, Ali. What are these candles going to set me back?” Don’t fret! The large 3-wick versions pictured here are $20 each. However, I snagged them up at a 2 for $22 sale (a savings of $18!!!). Bath and Body Works often has great promos like this, or you can buy smaller versions for less money. They are currently selling their mason jar candles (who doesn’t love a good mason jar?) 2 for $15 and their mini candles 3 for $10. At almost 50 scents, I’m sure you’ll be able to find the perfect one for your home! They are said to burn 25-45 hours, so don’t be stingy and only burn them when you have company over. Enjoy them whenever you want!!!

Why are you still sitting here? Go buy some candles, crazy!

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Sassy Kat Does Disneyland!

HeaderWhen one of my favorite people is within an hour of one of my favorite places, what else is there to do besides go to DISNEYLAND?! My mom has been with my dad before, but they visited in 1980! Check this out…

Mom and Dad 1980How much are you loving my mom’s purple tube top and my dad’s short white shorts? Surely not as much as I am. Anyway, as I was saying…it was Sunday, and we were heading to Disneyland!

IMG_2293How cute is my mom?? We were up early and leaving the hotel around 5:30 AM to get to Disneyland by park opening, and of course it started drizzling (for the first time ALL summer) as we were headed out. I’m pretty sure this Disney poncho is one Amy got on a Disney World trip in high school. Our family has been Disney fans for quite some time ๐Ÿ™‚

When we finally arrived at the park, we hopped on a tram and headed to Disneyland!

How cute are they?
How cute are they?

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We were obviously super psyched to be there. We lined up on Main Street right in front of the castle, and as soon as the park officially opened, we headed straight for Fantasyland. My mom’s favorite Disney ride is Peter Pan’s Flight, so we wanted to make that our first ride of the day.

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After boarding a magical flying ship to travel over London with Peter, we decided to enjoy the rest of Fantasyland. That included Snow White’s Scary Adventure (which actually seriously scares me), Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (which ends with the rider traveling to Hell…I can’t make this stuff up), and pictures in front of some various Fantasyland landmarks.

Dumbo, the flying elephant!
Dumbo, the flying elephant!
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Trying to pull the sword out of the stone behind Sleeping Beauty Castle!
Trying to pull the sword out of the stone behind Sleeping Beauty Castle!

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Teacups from Wonderland!
Teacups from Wonderland!
In front of the teacups and Matterhorn Mountain!
In front of the teacups and Matterhorn Mountain!

We also made sure to enjoy a couple of boat rides near Fantasyland. The first was Storybook Land Canal boats. This ride was so cute! We hadn’t been on it before, and it was full of miniature sculptures from various Disney movies. The sights may look unimpressive below, but they were beautifully crafted and the accompanying music and tour guide really made this ride special.

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Sultan's Palace from Aladdin
Sultan’s Palace from Aladdin
Cinderella Castle! (not quite as big as the one in Walt Disney World...)
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (this one looks more like the replica in Disneyland Paris, I think!)

Another boat ride we had to enjoy was “it’s a small world.” No trip to a Disney park is complete without riding this classic at least once. Even though this ride is also at Disney World, the Disneyland version has integrated some Disney characters and princesses throughout their version of the ride. It was fun to try to seek them out in their respective countries and states! ย I won’t bore you with pictures of the inside of the ride, but trust me that it’s a happy, fun Disney classic!

The facade here is much larger than Disney World's!
The facade here is much larger than Disney World’s!

The happiest cruise that ever sailed!

The happiest cruise that ever sailed!
Beautiful Mom!
Beautiful Mom!
Handsome hubbs!
Handsome hubbs!
We ran into Princess Merida outside of "it's a small world!"
We ran into Princess Merida outside of “it’s a small world!”

We then made the very unfortunate decision to go on Finding Nemo Submarines. We had heard great things about how fun it was. Nope. It was so crowded and claustrophobic. My mom immediately pulled out her fan to cool herself off, and poor Louis was so tall he could barely bend down far enough to see out of the submarine window. We thought the ride would never end.

Hot and cramped!
Hot and cramped!

You may notice above that we all have on Mickey or Minnie shirts. I am always down for wearing character shirts, but Louis isn’t such a huge fan. My mom really wanted us all in Disney shirts for pictures though. She asked Louis if she promised to ride Space Mountain if he would bite the bullet and wear a Mickey shirt. He only agreed if she would ride Splash Mountain as well. Shocking all of us (probably herself most of all), she AGREED! Louis and I hustled over to the Disney store before she arrived and found the coolest Mickey shirt I’ve ever seen. Then, my poor mom was locked into facing her fear of thrill rides. After Fantasyland, we finally convinced her it was time to tackle her first terror of the day: Space Mountain.

I can safely promise to everyone reading this, that I have never laughed as hard in my ENTIRE LIFE as I did when my mom rode Space Mountain. I was laughing so hard I almost threw up. Yes. Threw up from laughter.

In line for the ride.
In line for the ride…

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Too many great things going on in this photo.
Too many great things going on in this photo.

My mom seriously SCREAMED the entire ride. She alternated between, “OH MY GOSH!!!”, “HELP!!!!!”, AND “I’M GOING TO DIE!!!!!!”. I told Louis later, I would have paid $500 for a video of her on the ride. It was probably the highlight of my entire summer.

After the thrill of Space Mountain, we decided something slightly tamer was in order. We hopped on Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, and my mom promptly tripled my score! She’s like some sort of shooting wizard!

Saving the galaxy one shot at a time!
Saving the galaxy one shot at a time!

We then headed over to New Orleans Square to enjoy Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and lunch at French Market. On our way there, we stopped for a picture with Aladdin and Jasmine.

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With mom in the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square!
With mom in the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square!
Our whole group!
Our whole group!

Then, with a tummy full of yummy French food and after much encouragement from us, my mom decided it was time to tackle Splash Mountain. We lent her one of our Disney World ponchos and sped through the line with the FastPasses Louis had wisely obtained. The funniest part of this journey was after the drop inside the mountain in the darkness. Once we reached that drop, my mom started screaming, “I PASSED OUT! I NEED TO GET OFF THE RIDE! I’M PASSED OUT!” I had to control my laughter long enough to assure her that she was not passed out, since she was talking to me. I still don’t know how she convinced herself to get on this ride! I’m so proud of how brave she was! Check out what a champ she was…

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After getting soaked on Splash Mountain, we headed to the bathroom, so my mom could change out of her wet clothes. She really came prepared! ๐Ÿ™‚ Knowing that Space and Splash were over, it was like a weight was lifted off of her shoulders! We set off to enjoy the rest of the day. First up was character pictures!

Goofy in front of his kooky house!
Goofy in front of his kooky house!
Meeting the big cheese himself!
Meeting the big cheese himself!
Sweet Pluto!
Sweet Pluto!
Princess Aurora!
Princess Aurora!
Princess Ariel!
Princess Ariel!
Mom enjoying tea with Minnie at her home!
Mom enjoying tea with Minnie at her home!
Mom let me join her and Minnie for tea!
Mom let me join her and Minnie for tea!

After hanging around in Toontown for a bit, we decided to do some souvenir shopping before dinner on Main Street. As we were walking towards Main Street, I ran into a cast member I met on 4th of July. His name was Levi, and he was so friendly. He remembered me as well, and while we talked, I told him how my mom was visiting Disneyland, and we were spending the day fitting in all of her favorite things. He asked us to hold on for a moment, and when he came back, he told us he had put us on the list for VIP Fireworks viewing!!! We were soooo excited! I know it sounds cheesy, but I seriously think God had me meet him on July 4th, so I would see him again with my mom and be able to have VIP seats for her Disney day. Full of excitement we headed to look for my mom a Disney ornament and Henry some monogrammed Mickey ears! You’re never too young to start being a Disney fan, after all.

Louis being silly in the hat store!
Louis being silly in the hat store!

We also stopped on Main Street to watch Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. It’s such an amazing parade, and while the princess float was going by, Belle noticed my mom and waved right at her! She was beautiful…definitely still my favorite princess!

Beautiful Belle!
Beautiful Belle!

After the parade, my mom treated us to a delicious dinner at Carnation Cafe on Main Street. We enjoyed the special of the day (Shrimp Alfredo Penne Pasta), and Louis ordered Mac ‘n Cheese (because he’s a big kid at heart).

Carnation Cafe
Carnation Cafe

Not long after dinner, it was time to grab our snacks for Magical Fireworks Spectacular and head to our VIP seats! The view was absolutely incredible. The show was so beautiful, and I’m so thankful my mom got to experience it with us from our amazing seats.

Carnation Cafe
Disneyland Fireworks

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After the Magical show, we strolled over to enjoy Fantasmic! in the Rivers of America. Finally, we enjoyed a late night ride on Haunted Mansion and snapped some pictures in front of the castle as the park was closing for the evening.

The beautiful castle with Walt waving goodbye for the night!
The beautiful castle with Walt waving goodbye for the night!
After a long, fun-filled day!
After a long, fun-filled day!

It was such an amazing day, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it! I loved how my mom was brave enough to ride Splash & Space Mountain. I loved how we got to meet so many characters. I loved that we opened and closed the park. And I LOVED that we got VIP seats for the fireworks. We had SUCH a blast, and I love that we got to experience Disneyland with my mom! Hopefully next time we head to a Disney park, it will be with the whole family!

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Sassy Kat Visits La Jolla!

sassykatvisitslajolla

About a month ago (already a month!?!), my wonderful mother, Sassy Kat, came to visit us in La Jolla! I was so excited to see her and spend time showing her around where Louis and I have been living this summer. ย She flew in on a Saturday, and Louis and I were so excited to greet her at the airport!

IMG_2260Louis obviously helped me make made the “welcome” sign as my artistic skills are those of a 4-year old (and that’s being generous). As soon as my mom landed, we all hopped in the car and headed down to the La Jolla Cove for dinner and a beautiful view of the ocean! First, we grabbed dinner at The Prospect Bar & Grill, where Louis and I have dined before.

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We had a great time catching up and enjoying dinner until the live music for the night showed up and played so loud we could barely think! Once the music started up, we finished eating and decided to walk along the cove to see the seals and waves. Of course, we wanted to snap some shots in front of the water, which led to this series of pictures.

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We are constantly laughing when we’re together ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_2291I was SO happy she was finally in La Jolla! I promise Louis was there, too. Need proof?

IMG_2292Am I blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people or what? We enjoyed the (cloudy ๐Ÿ™ ) sunset down on the shore cliffs after we climbed under a fence to get closer to the water. Such rebels, I know.IMG_2464

We got a couple to take this after we awkwardly laughed and talked for about 15 minutes behind them while they were probably trying to enjoy a romantic sunset. Oops. Also, how cute is Sassy Kat in her scarf? Such a Cali girl.

We headed home after that though to hit the hay early because we had BIG plans for Sunday. ALL DAY at DISNEYLAND! Don’t worry…that’s going to get its own post entirely. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay tuned to read all about our VIP day at Disney!

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Night Al Goes to the Aquarium

NightAlGoestotheAquariumQuite a few weeks ago, Louis and I visited the Birch Aquarium here in La Jolla. We went on an overcast Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a few hours of walking around the building admiring both the amazing sea life and the beautiful views around the aquarium. Being so close to the ocean and being part of the Scripps Research Center and UCSD allows for the aquarium to have several interesting exhibits. And, of course, being built on a cliff less than a mile from the ocean allows for both great views and a large assortment of fish and species to research.

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One of the first exhibits to greet us inside was their assortment of jellyfish. I could have stood there for hours and watched them. They were SO relaxing and serene looking. The coral jellyfish were my 2nd favorite type, and my favorite type were the moon jellies shown in the video I captured.

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Another neat area was their Kelp Exhibit, which was one of the largest indoor aquarium tanks I’ve ever seen. They do several daily feeding shows you can watch, and they also have a live stream on their website called the Kelp Cam. I tried to include some children in the picture below so you could get a grasp of how large this exhibit was.

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IMG_2182After we admired the kelp for a while, we journeyed over to a different exhibit. There, we saw a cute little fish that was scooping up rocks with his mouth and then spitting them out to form either a pile, a hole, or both??? I snagged a quick video while we observed him. There were no volunteers around for me to ask what he was up to, but we enjoyed watching him for a bit! I feel like I should have added the Rocky theme song to the video or something…too much?

We finally headed outside on the back deck of the aquarium to take in the beautiful views and enjoy the tide pool exhibit. In the tide pool there were different types of starfish and fish you could touch. Some were super slimy, and some were rough and spiky! We “pet” the different species and then stood around awkwardly looking for someone to take our picture ๐Ÿ™‚

OutsideCollage AliandLouisOnce we were done on the balcony we headed inside to the seahorse exhibit. The coolest seahorse in my opinion was the Weedy Seadragon. It looked so wispy and fragile and was barely drifting through the water.

WeedySeadragonThere was also a bizarre video in this area explaining that the male seahorses develop the babies in their stomach and give birth to them. The video showed a male seahorse giving birth, and the only way I can describe it is that it looked like he was sneezing out the babies about 15-20 at a time. Seriously bizarre. It’s so crazy how diverse sea creatures are and how HUGE the ocean is. There is SO much of it that is totally undiscovered and unexplored. It’s like an entirely different world!

Our quick, educational visit was a fun way to spend our afternoon! I still have SO many things that have happened that I need to blog about! I’ll try to catch up in the next couple of weeks. Until then!

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