Family Holiday

Whew, what a whirl wind of a weekend! So much happened I don’t know where to start! Lets see…

So I have been waiting for this weekend for what feels like an eternity! My brother, his girlfriend and Whit drove up and arrived late Wednesday night from Southern California so no time would be wasted for the long weekend! I had just enough room for the lot of them and it worked out perfect…well, except for the while one bathroom for five people thing. Yikes.

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Anyhow, Thursday was pretty low key as I needed to spend most of the day in the kitchen making the kabobs for our bbq! Seriously, making kabobs for eight people is time consuming! They included a variety of vegetables and fruit, along with either tofu, chicken or shrimp. I used a taco sauce seasoning for flavor and it was perfect!

Tofu Kabobs

We started with some great appetizers like guacamole and veggies and dip and a drink that was very minty and citrusy!

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We completed the meal with some fresh corn and watermelon. Nothing screams summer like both those things!

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For dessert I made a vegan lemon cake, paired with fresh strawberries that Whit picked up from a farmer in Ventura. One of my coworkers also made a blueberry nectarine pie. I’m normally not a fan of cooked stone fruits and berries, but dang, this girl can make a good pie! I was so full but couldn’t resist trying a piece. I wish I had a second stomach to polish off more of it!

Blueberry nectraine pie Blueberry nectrarine pie

We stayed up late but had some plans for the next day to take a great trip to a park I work at! We headed out mid day and the weather was perfect, overcast and cool, even some light sprinkling going on!

There are several trails at Butano State Park and we decided to hike the Ano Nuevo Trail and Goat Hill Trail. I had no idea what these trails would consist of but boy oh boy the Ano Nuevo was tough! Tons of switch backs up the side of a mountain! I was slow going after doing a four mile run that morning…in an effort to flush out all the sugar from my drink the night before! That thing took a toll on me physically!

There were lots of flowers and berries along the trail that the boys had a good time munching on….and I was having a mild heart attack hoping none of them were poisonous.


Butano State Park Butano State Park Butano State Park

Such a gorgeous day for a hike! Banana slugs included!

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A long hike ended with a stop back home at the local burger joint where we all demolished a huge dinner!

Everyone was still tired on Saturday but I had a whole day planned for us! We started off with pancakes like we had every other morning they had been there, and then headed out to the botanical gardens at USCS. I have been here before with my coworkers but this time I got to see the whole thing! I forgot my big lens though, so no hummingbird pictures! Boo! But I got some beautiful flower, bee and butterfly shots!

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None of us had been to the boardwalk/downtown area before so I planned our evening to revolve around that area. We spent some time downtown at a few stores and a bookstore (where I got some amazing books!) then went to Mobo sushi, one of our favorites!

Mobo Sushi

I got two rolls that had a variety of pickled vegetables, avocado and one even had macadamia nuts! Such an interesting mix! Oh, but beforehand we made a stop at the Penny Ice Creamery, one of the most popular ice cream joints, other than Marrianne’s, in Santa Cruz! I got their dairy free chocolate sorbet and it was the bomb! It was so smooth and not gritty…I wish I could have had several spoonfuls of that stuff!  Whit got the green tea variety and loved it!

Penny Ice Creamery

We wandered down to the boardwalk and wharf for a little bit…and totally geeked out over the wildlife. Ok, I geeked out over the wildlife. Haha! Seals and baby gulls!

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Everyone headed back on Sunday to Southern California…and it ended up being such a great weekend! I wish they could have stayed longer, or were just closer so they could come visit more often!

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend! I’ve enjoyed reading about everyone’s weekend!

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7 Responses to Family Holiday

  1. Amy Lauren says:

    That chocolate sorbet looks really tasty- along with the other foods. I’ve never had chocolate sorbet but it seems like a great dairy free alternative to froyo or ice cream. Will have to try that. The pie looks good too, even cooked (sometimes it seems a little warm for hot desserts to me lately).

    Those redwood trees really are huge- the pic of you and Whit in front of it really puts it into perspective for me. Everything out there in Cali looks so different than what’s here in SC, nature wise.

    • Melissa says:

      It’s crazy how fast the environments can change up here. One second your in a lush ravine with lots of ferns, the next you’re in a drier climate with chaparral plants/animals, and then you’re in the ocean! I seriously love it, though bet that SC has some amazing natural places too!

  2. itzyskitchen says:

    What a fun weekend!! That dessert looks amazing! Nice work on all the food. Cooking for a crowd is always a challenge!!

    • Melissa says:

      It’s funny how I forgot how to cook for such a big group, when I used to cater parties by myself in college for at least thirty to forty people!

  3. MicaMica says:

    Your family weekend looks so fun! I can’t believe all the cool things to see–banana slugs, WHAT? (Maybe you’re like “Meh, I see that all the time.”) I have to say, this almost convinces me that I’d like to live in California. It does seem like you have an awfully nice time there.

    • Melissa says:

      Absolutely! And to kick it up a notch, I learned last week there are actually three varieties of banana slugs along the CA/OR/WA coast! Madness! Hahaha! You could totally live in CA and would love it; I just know it!

  4. biz319 says:

    I would be freaked out by the banana slugs Mel! Glad you had such an amazeball weekend!!

    I’ve never heard of macadamia nuts in sushi before either – interesting!

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