Photoshoot by Barrera Photography

Paul & I didn't have a traditional wedding. In 2013, we hired a retired judge for $50 and secretly got married in her backyard that overlooked a canyon outside of Austin. It was just him & I (+ the judge). We never had the wedding or engagement photos, bachelor or bachelorette party, bridesmaids and groomsmen, wedding cake, etc. but I wouldn't change a damn thing.  

With all that being said, we recently had the opportunity to shoot with Alex & Risa Barrera aka Barrera Photography while they were visiting San Francisco and the photos make me sOoOoOo happy. Here is a little recap of what went down.

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Thanks to Alex & Risa for capturing Paul & I - I can't wait to frame some of these! To take a look at Alex & Risa's work, visit their site here, or follow along on IG here!

-Halee 

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

I used to make Chicken Pot Pie quite often when Paul and I were living in England, but once Paul started cooking more, I stopped. Well that all changed yesterday, when I spent hours in the kitchen making dough and filling for Chicken Pot Pie...and let me just tell you, I was very pleased with myself ;)

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After 

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE PIE CRUST:

·         2 1/2 cups flour

·         1 tbsp sugar

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         1 cup cold unsalted butter -  cut into cubes

·         1/2 cup cold whole milk

·         1 egg, beaten, for the egg wash

 

FOR THE FILLING:

·         1/4 cup unsalted butter

·         1/3 cup diced onion

·         1 1/2-2 medium carrots sliced (about 3/4-1 cup)

·         1 bunch of broccolini (about 1 cup) 

·         1 Russet potato chopped

·         1 sweet potato or yam chopped

·         2 cloves garlic minced

·         1/3 cup flour

·         1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

·         1 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley

·         2 teaspoons salt

·         1 teaspoon black pepper

·         1 and 3/4 cups chicken broth

·         1/2 cup heavy cream

·         2-3 chicken breasts shredded

·         1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt 

·         ½ teaspoon white pepper 

 

1.    First, make the pie crust. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in an electric mixer. Add the cubed butter and pulse. Continue pulsing until all of the butter is incorporated into the flour mixture, resembling sand or pea size pieces. Place the flour mixture in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill the butter.

2.    While your butter is in the freezer, boil your chicken and potatoes in water for 10 minutes. Your potatoes & chicken shouldn't be completely cooked since they will be cooked further in the oven. Once they are done, strain and let your chicken cool before shredding. Shred your chicken and set aside with the potatoes. 

3.    Remove your flour mixture from freezer and add your milk. Pulse until it comes together. If the mixture is too dry, add water, a tbsp at a time. Divide the dough in two and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge while you make the filling (at least one hour).

4.    To make the filling, heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onions, carrots, broccolini, and garlic and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the flour, salt, garlic salt, black pepper, white pepper, thyme, parsley, chicken broth, and heavy cream. Whisk until there are no flour lumps and then simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Stir in the shredded chicken and potatoes. Remove from heat and set aside while you roll out the pie dough.

5.    Preheat oven to 400°F.

6.    Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a circle large enough to fit inside your pan or ceramic dish. Tip: your dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to your pie pan. Pat with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Trim the extra overhang of dough with a knife and discard. Fill pie with filling. Roll out the second disk of dough and carefully cover the pie (or make any design your heart desires, like circles). Make sure to use your egg wash to seal the bottom pie crust to the top and around the edges. Trim the extra overhang off the sides if there are any. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork or your fingers, if necessary. With a sharp knife, slice a few small slits in the center of the top crust. Using a pastry brush, brush the crust and edges with the rest of your egg wash.

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7.    Bake for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Cool for 20-30 minutes and then cut into slices and serve. Note: save for leftovers or cool completely and freeze for up to 1 month.

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Enjoy!

-Halee

Violet's Tavern

Guess what? There’s another bar that has opened its doors in the Richmond. Violet’s Tavern, located on 2301 Clement, is serving up some American classics but the focus is seafood and drinks (plus, it's the team behind Fiorella!). 

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The inside décor is stunning, with deep blue marbled wallpaper from the same company who did Fiorella’s famous wallpaper – Brooklyn’s Flavor Paper. Plants hang from the bar shelves, giving it a very home-y & comfy vibe that makes you want to stay forever. 

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While we were there, the bar was buzzing with folks trying to get their hands on beautiful cocktails. Some of my favorites: Spindrift Cobbler - Riesling, Lime, Chareau Aloe Liqueur, Salted Nori Syrup and Lime Bitters, Stolen Tart – Tree Craft Gin, Christian Drouin calvados, rosemary, house-made raspberry cordial, lemon, Bolivar bitters and club soda, and Papi Suave – Plantation 3 Star rum, Cimarron Blanco Tequila, Ancho Verde liqueur, Merlet Apricot liqueur, lime, sage and Angostura bitters. 

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The cocktails had my attention from the moment we walked in, but let’s not forget about the food. The selection of East & West Coast Oysters, Baked Stuffed Clams and House-made chips & Dips (Roasted Onion & Duck liver) were top-notch. I am still dreaming about that Roasted Onion dip. 

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The space isn’t large, and it was hard to maneuver around, but, they are doing well with what they have. They have installed hooks all along the seating area for bags and purses, that way customers aren’t crowding floor space. 

Overall, I am excited for the Richmond and everything that is popping up – gives us an excuse to explore our city more – and The Pearl and Violet’s are amazing places to start. I look forward to visiting Violet’s again and trying their Fried Chicken with cheddar biscuits, macaroni salad and hot honey. HELLO. 

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Until next time, 

Halee

Marin Headlands Day Hike

Let me preface by saying this is my favorite Bay Area hike SO FAR. I plan to go on many more adventures, but this hike is worth documenting, noting and sharing. 

Depending on your schedule and if you are driving or taking the bus sort of dictates where you start. Ideally, I'd recommend starting at Battery Spencer, making your way down to Kirby Cove and back up to Conzelman Road all the way to Point Bonita Lighthouse (4.4 miles according to Google). Now the only reason I recommend doing it this way is because Point Bonita Lighthouse doesn't open until 12:30pm. Keep in mind that PBL is only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12:30-3:30pm. I like to start my hikes early, so it made sense for me to start at Battery Spencer/Kirby Cove and end at PBL. Now, if you have already seen PBL and don't need to go inside the gate/see it again or you are a late hiker, starting at PBL and ending at Battery Spencer is an option, which was the route we took when doing this hike for the first time. Once you see PBL, you don't really need to see it again do you? There are already tons of other beautiful sights around you that the idea of trying to make it to PBL with a 3-hour window in mind is crazy annoying.

I'm going to share my route of starting at Kirby Cove and ending at PBL. Please feel free to do the complete opposite ;)

1. Start at Battery Spencer to get some pictures of the GGB, of course.  

 Battery Spencer view. 

Battery Spencer view. 

2. From Battery Spencer, head down to Kirby Cove to get some more pictures of the GGB. You might also be lucky enough to swing on the infamous swing if it hasn't been cut down already. 

 On the way to Kirby Cove. 

On the way to Kirby Cove. 

 Hikers Club. 

Hikers Club. 

 Kirby Cove. 

Kirby Cove. 

 GGB at Kirby Cove. 

GGB at Kirby Cove. 

 Kirby Cove. No swing so this tree will do. 

Kirby Cove. No swing so this tree will do. 

3. Make sure to check out your surroundings before leaving each spot; you never know what you'll find. Most places I visit that I have seen on IG aren't what I've expected or are too crowded with people that have the same idea in mind. I'm usually more impressed with other sights found off the beaten path.

4. Head back up to Conzelman Road and take it all the way until you hit Field Road. Make sure to stop along the way to take in those views! For instance, Headlands Lookout is one of my favorite spots to stop and snap a few pictures. Take a left at Field Road until you come to PBL. PBL is free and like I mentioned, only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12:30-3:30. We ended up going on Memorial Day which was probably the worst idea ever. There were a lot of people there and we had to wait in line to cross the bridge over to the lighthouse. Once we crossed, there really wasn't much space and we were out of there within 30 minutes. My favorite part about PBL was capturing it from afar, but it was nice to experience and see IRL.

 Headlands Lookout.

Headlands Lookout.

 Battery Rathbone McIndoe. 

Battery Rathbone McIndoe. 

 Entrance to PBL.

Entrance to PBL.

 Across the bridge at PBL in one of the buildings. 

Across the bridge at PBL in one of the buildings. 

 Point Bonita Lighthouse 

Point Bonita Lighthouse 

5. Wander off. Head back up Field Road and take a left at Mendell Road to check out Battery Mendell. This is where I really enjoyed our hike. It was much more quiet and there were so many flowers blooming everywhere. Battery Mendell was pretty neat too (try prying one of the doors open, maybe you'll get lucky). Heading back up Field Road or Conzelman Road, you'll find two more Batteries: Battery Wallace and Battery Wallace 2. If you have time there are tons more to explore that I am leaving out, but that's for another time. For instance: Rodeo Beach, Tennessee Valley Beach, Muir Beach, Stinson Beach. 

 Battery Mendell. 

Battery Mendell. 

 Blending in.

Blending in.

 California summer. 

California summer. 

 We hiked down Rodeo Lagoon Vista Point for this shot. 

We hiked down Rodeo Lagoon Vista Point for this shot. 

 Tyler looking fly. 

Tyler looking fly. 

 An old Mercedes on Conzelman Road. 

An old Mercedes on Conzelman Road. 

6. Head up the trail to catch the 76x back to the city. You deserve a warm bath and a full glass of wine after the day you just had, so go make it happen. 

Until next time, 

Halee

Pearl Restaurant

Pearl Restaurant, owned by and next to Pizzetta 211, has opened its doors in the Richmond District. They are currently serving breakfast (starting 6/4), dinner and brunch. Co-chefs Mel Lopez and Joyce Conway have created a menu that caters to the ingredients and produce in California seasonally. They are making everything in-house from scratch, with the exception of the bread they get from Acme.

I popped in to sample their brunch yesterday with a handful of others and it did not disappoint. Take a look!

 Stunning corner booth.

Stunning corner booth.

 Coffee using Andytown Coffee Roasters will be served during breakfast and brunch. 

Coffee using Andytown Coffee Roasters will be served during breakfast and brunch. 

 Coffee station.

Coffee station.

 Local Halibut Crudo - strawberry, marcona almond, serrano chili, nuoc cham and cilantro.

Local Halibut Crudo - strawberry, marcona almond, serrano chili, nuoc cham and cilantro.

 Coastal Scrub - gin, dolin dry, pamplemousse, citrus, honey and garbage tincture.

Coastal Scrub - gin, dolin dry, pamplemousse, citrus, honey and garbage tincture.

 Copa De Oro - rye, cream sherry, nocino, cherry and xocolate mole bitters.

Copa De Oro - rye, cream sherry, nocino, cherry and xocolate mole bitters.

 Eggs in Purgatory - lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta and house-made pita bread. 

Eggs in Purgatory - lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta and house-made pita bread. 

 Chicory Caesar - crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and garlic croutons.

Chicory Caesar - crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and garlic croutons.

 Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup - mint yogurt, pepitas and urfa.

Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup - mint yogurt, pepitas and urfa.

 Smoked Salmon Tartine + Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup

Smoked Salmon Tartine + Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup

 Omelette - herbed goat cheese, confit cherry tomatoes, fried shallots and home fries.

Omelette - herbed goat cheese, confit cherry tomatoes, fried shallots and home fries.

 Dutch Baby - strawberry preserve, almonds and whipped creme fraiche.

Dutch Baby - strawberry preserve, almonds and whipped creme fraiche.

For a peek at their list of menus, including brunch: Menus. 

Honestly, everything we tried was great, but if I had to choose a favorite dish from their brunch menu, it'd have to be the Chicory Caesar or Eggs in Purgatory. I don't really eat salad much but when I come across a salad like this one, it's one that I want to recreate at home and eat every week. SO GOOD. And for the Eggs in Purgatory, there isn't much to say.  Lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta AND house-made pita bread!! Sign me up. To top off brunch, breakfast is rumored to have coffee and fresh baked goods, including wood-fired bagels. Sign me up for that too. And for dinner, well there is fresh hand-made pasta and a Tomahawk Chop (chili-cheese polenta, cipollini onion, asparagus, sauce bernaise - may take up to 45 minutes) to share between 4 people. 

We had such a great time and can't wait to go back for breakfast or dinner (or both). If you're in the Richmond, make sure to check this place out, and grab a slice of Pizzetta after ;)

Cheers, 

Halee

5 Year Wedding Anniversary

Our Modern Day Love Story

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It all started with a face-time call. Wait, let me back up. How did that call even come to be you ask? Well, my friend at the time was dating Paul’s friend, who had just moved back to the UK. She told me he had recently ended a relationship and so had I. My friend and I had this very basic plan of traveling to England that summer to see the two boys. Because of this plan I added Paul on Facebook and Instagram but nothing ever happened. He never messaged me (rude) and I never messaged him (I think I liked a couple of his photos). Months later, when I was visiting my friend in San Antonio where she lived at the time (I lived in Austin), we decided to call the two since they were going to be together.

I called and Paul answers. Only Paul. My first reaction was to hang up. “I don’t know this person” I thought. But, Paul being the charming, cheeky lad that he is, called back. My friend yelled “answer it” and since I don’t do well with peer pressure, I did. The three of us talked for a good hour, give or take, but it was mainly Paul and I chatting. I was a hot mess, but luckily, he couldn’t see how red my face was.

If I remember correctly, it was a Sunday and I needed to drive back to Austin and get home. Paul and I hung up and I wasn’t sure what to think of it all or what would come from that one-hour conversation. I remember looking down at my phone on my ride home (sorry mom) and seeing a FB message pop that said, “Call to say goodnight?”. I’m not going to lie; my stomach was in knots and I couldn’t stop smiling. It was probably his accent that had me hooked. I got home, and we facetimed before I wend to bed.

From that day forward, Feb 10th to April 3rd, we talked every single day. There wasn’t a day that we didn’t facetime, even if it was for just 10 minutes. I would sit it my car on my lunch break, eating my lunch, facetiming Paul. When I got home from work (which was between midnight and 2am for him) I would call him, and we would talk for a bit. In the morning as I was getting ready for work, I’d call, and he would be on his lunch break or just thereafter. On the weekend, sometimes we sat on facetime for hours (I think our max was 8 hours straight). We talked about EVERYTHING. He watched me make stir-fry, brush my teeth, do the dishes, listen to music, get ready for work or bed (yup) and I watched him play video games, play the guitar, make chicken and rice, fall asleep and sing. I truly believe we got to know each other by connecting this way, over the internet, without actually meeting face to face.

I will never forget the moment in time when he was off with his mate indoor climbing and we hadn’t chatted much that day. We were both very busy and I remember him messaging me and saying something along the lines of “I have this feeling that is hard to explain; the feeling is that I miss you. But how do I miss someone that I have never met before?” It was modern day poetry and it made me feel all sorts of feelings. We even said those magical three words, “I love you”, before meeting (shocking).

The time came for Paul to pay Halee a visit. This was the real deal! We were actually going to meet IRL, WTF. Paul bought his ticket to Austin and planned to visit April 3-10; a whole week. I was so excited but so nervous. Then the day came for me to pick him up at the airport. I FLIPPED. I was a few mimosas deep and so nervous. “What if I don’t like him? What if he doesn’t like me?  So many thoughts were running through my mind and I was SO close to leaving the airport. But, there he was, coming down the escalator. The first thing I did after we hugged was use the restroom. I knew my face was as red as his Liverpool jersey and I needed to catch my breath. We had our first make-out sesh in the car and the rest is history. JK, but kind of.

Our first stop was Chipotle because I was obsessed in 2013 like the rest of the world. Then we headed back to my place since it was late (shout out to Torie & Clarissa!). The next 6 days were filled with all the touristy things I could think of to show him since he had never been to TX before. We went to Fredericksburg, ate Torchy’s Tacos, ate Salt Lick BBQ, almost played Chicken Shit Bingo but it was packed, got tattoos together (hey Laura), went to San Antonio, saw the Alamo, saw the Riverwalk, went to the Tower of Americas, and more. Then, he left, just like that. What next?

He called me when he landed back in UK and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. I knew he loved me and I knew I loved him, but we were thousands of miles apart from each other. Side note: he used to always play/sing Deathcab’s Transatlanticism which was a real tear jerker (go listen to that song now). Some would say we didn’t really even know each other. And then not too long after he arrived back home from his ATX visit, he randomly asked me “What would you do if I asked you to marry me?”. I’m sorry, come again?! I was speechless for a few moments, and then said, “I would say “yeah, why not?”. #crazy

We have jumped through so many hurdles to be together, and the first one was getting married. We decided that he was going to fly back to TX, so we could get married (because it was way easier and way cheaper). He booked his flight and planned on staying a long weekend. Before that though, I had to acquire a marriage license for us and because he wasn’t there, I was doing this alone on his behalf. We had to get so many documents notarized and on the day of my appointment, the woman noticed that they had messed up Paul’s name. It said Paul Edwards Robert and his name is Paul Robert Edwards (the III to be precise – so British). I was about to freak out because this was already a stressful and exhausting situation. She must have been in a good mood or didn’t want to deal with me anymore because somehow everything got approved, even with that hiccup.

Paul flew back down on May 3rd, 2013 and stayed a few days. On May 4th, 2013 we ran off and got married, just the two of us, by a retired judge on her property that overlooked the Hill Country. Our marriage was a secret at the time, apart from a few friends, just because I didn’t want anyone passing judgement. I knew that what we did was risky, scary, and a little crazy but it was also real, right and the best decision I’ve ever made. I handed in my 2-week notice at my job and headed to England on May 29, 2013. I told my parents that we were engaged and that I was going to England to *maybe* go back to school. Both of those statements were false.

I’m not going to lie, it was hard the first few months, getting accustomed to a life where I wasn’t able to work, I didn’t have any friends or family near me and even though I lived in country where there was no language barrier, I felt like there was one. I had a tough time understanding some people and felt out of my comfort zone when I would go to the shop or somewhere by myself. I think that’s where I started relying on Paul a lot.

In our first home in Leeds (that I miss everyday), we had such a spacious kitchen with wood countertops and a skylight to make everything bright, even on the greyest days. While Paul was at work, I started playing around in the kitchen. I became obsessed with it. I would make breakfast, lunch and dinner most days with a side of baking. That’s when “The Ginger Snap” was born (another story for another time).

We lived in Leeds for over a year but then had to sell the house and move in with Paul’s mum in Bradford for a short period of time. HERE’S WHERE IT GETS JUICY. Before that happened, we flew to San Antonio for a friend’s wedding. We had submitted my temporary resident visa because I had already been in the UK for 6 months (actually more…shhhh). We had to submit all kinds of evidence proving our relationship and why I would only be there temporarily. When we were in San Antonio, we got the letter denying my temporary residence and we were shattered. Paul still had a contract to finish up in the UK so he had to go back. I remember taking him to the airport, dropping him off, crying (like I am about to now), saying goodbye – not knowing when we would see each other again. A month? 3 months? A year? Who knew. I probably cried in my room for a good three days.

Nearly a month went by and it was pretty shitty without him – not knowing when I would get to see him again. I was applying for jobs and trying to stay busy when he called me one day with this insane, elaborate plan to get me to him. He came up with this plan of flying me into Dublin (since Dublin isn’t part of the UK) and then flying from Dublin to Bradford City Airport. Bradford’s airport is so small and I’m not even sure if they have proper computers or phones. I was to fly in on a Sunday evening; the last flight of the day at 8pm or something. My first reaction was “NO, are you crazy?”. Surely, they’d catch me in any of the locations I was flying through, right? Long story short: after hearing him out and much thought and planning, I decided to do it. What did I have to lose? If they did notice, they would just send me back to the U.S, right?

We booked my flight. I landed in Dublin and that is when I started really freaking out. I thought “they” knew. There were drug dogs and police and guards walking around everywhere. Me being my paranoid self thought they were talking about me on their walkie-talkies. I finally got on my flight to Bradford and I was sweating profusely. We landed and made our way off the runway and into the building. I handed the gentleman at the counter my passport (which states I was denied temporary residence) and he looked at my picture and handed it back. NO STAMP. WHAT??? My heart was racing, and I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I ran and saw Paul waiting for me and jumped into his arms. Definitely *one* of the best days of my life.

We moved in with Paul’s mum in Bradford for a bit before finding our little flat in Manchester where we were for the next 8 or 9 months. During this whole time of us being married, we were filing for Paul to get his permanent resident visa for the U.S. We finally got the news when we were living in Manchester and that is when we made the move to San Antonio.

In San Antonio, we saved for about a year before buying our first home together. That is where I have all the wonderful memories of my small donut business, our close group of friends, BBQs, margaritas in the pool, Regina, our co-ed soccer team (another thing I miss everyday) and much more. We had no idea that we would visit San Francisco & Napa and fall in love. SPOILER ALERT: we did.

We visited May 26th, 2017 and arrived back home June 2nd. We called our relator and he came around the following Monday. We shared the news with him that we were moving to SF and we needed to sell our home. It went on the market and sold in a day. We officially became SF residents July 19th, 2017 (6 weeks later) with no jobs and no place to live.

Now, after all the crazy adventures we’ve been through together–to be together–we are celebrating 5 years of marriage, which started from that one innocent, awkward facetime call. 

Before I met Paul I was living a completely different life and never in a million years did I think my life would be the way it turned out. Never in a million years did I think I'd fall in love with someone over the internet, get secretly married and do all the things we've done. Before I met Paul I had just recently graduated from college, was teaching and not enjoying it, had some nasty habits that I kicked (I used to smoke cigarettes!), wasn't really taking care of my body or eating healthy, and so much more. After moving to the UK, I really felt like I found my passions and hobbies, ones that I never knew I had, or enhanced the ones I did have. My passion for baking, cooking, being in the kitchen, being outdoors, hiking, exploring, walking, photography, etc, flourished in England. 

For that I am thankful for my husband. He is the person who pushed me to pursue baking when we moved back to TX. He is the person who pushed me to start my own small business. He has always wanted me to be happy and to succeed. He has always been my number one fan. I am lucky to have him and to call him mine. 

Happy 5 years babe. If this was our first 5 years of marriage, I am anxious to see what happens in the next 5 years?! No matter what, we got this. 

Thanks for reading friends!

-Halee 

Sun Basket Review

Sun Basket, an organic food delivery service based in the Bay area, reached out to have me review their product. I haven't blogged, let alone reviewed a product, in such a long time so I wasn't sure this was something I wanted to commit to. 

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After doing my research I learned a lot about Sun Basket and was very impressed: 

  • Sun Basket is a certified organic handler, and strives to source organic produce 100% of the time (currently over 99% of their produce is organic).
  • Organic ingredients are clearly labeled on delivery.
  • They work exclusively with ranchers and farmers who raise their animals responsibly and sustainably. 
  • All of their seafood is wild-caught, never farmed.
  • All of their fisheries are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a leading authority in sustainable seafood.
  • Their meal plans are dietitian-approved like Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, and more, which make healthy eating easy.
  • Their packaging is 100% recyclable and compostable.
  • Sun Basket works with local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and shops to offer the best ingredients each week. 
  • The executive chef/owner of Sun Basket, Justine Kelly, spent time at Slanted Door restaurant. She also was mentioned in Gourmet Magazine and had an appearance on Iron Chef.

All of these details about Sun Basket (+ many more) made me say "let's do this". I received my first week's meals this past week and will receive my second batch next week. Each box included 3 meals, of my choosing, to prepare. I chose Lemongrass Tofu, Salmon and Quinoa Bowls and Tomato-Coconut Shrimp this week. Out of the three, my favorite were the Lemongrass Tofu + Tomato-Coconut Shrimp. 

Lemongrass Tofu

 Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

This meal was so flavorful and fun to make! The process was simple enough for anyone to execute, whether you are comfortable in the kitchen or not. Starting with the rice, you let that cook for a good 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking, you are able to prepare and cook everything else. This made things almost effortless.

What was inside (serves 2): 

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  • Black Rice
  • Coconut milk
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Hodo Soy firm tofu
  • Onion 
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sun Basket Lemongrass paste (lemongrass, EVOO, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, ground turmeric)
  • Sunflower sprouts
  • Sun Basket stir-fry blend (gluten-free tamari, sesame oil, fresh garlic, fresh ginger)

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp

 Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

This meal, like Lemongrass Tofu, was bursting with the right amount of flavors that both Paul and I pleasantly enjoyed. The broccoli rice was a nice addition to an already healthy-ish meal. This is one I will gladly recreate again and am looking forward to the results. 

What's inside (serves 2):

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  • Broccoli rice
  • Wild gulf shrimp
  • Red chile flakes
  • Onion
  • Peeled fresh garlic
  • Lemon
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Coconut milk
  • Baby spinach
  • Shaved coconut

Things to know about Sun Basket:

  • Pricing does seem to be a bit steep; $11.99 per serving. Considering all of the local organic ingredients they use, it may be worth this price, especially if you don't have all the time in the world to go grocery shopping. The fact that they provide the exact measurements of what you need in each dish is convenient and makes things incredibly easy. (easy seems to be the constant word here). 
  • You can choose 2, 3, or 4 meals per week (depending on your menu plan) and can mix & match them (making some vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, etc.) within your meal plan (classic/family).
  • You can skip a delivery or cancel your plan at any time. 
  • Sun Basket ships to most zip codes in the United States, excluding AK, HI, MT, & parts of NM.
  • Your pantry should include olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil, plus salt and freshly-ground pepper. They occasionally call for wine or butter as an optional recipe item. You'll need basic pots and pans, a knife, and basic utensils.

I really enjoyed the first week's meal plan and am excited to try next week's! Check back in to see my thoughts when I review Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs, Bucatini Pomodoro and Saigon Noodles with Braised Tofu. 

 

Cheers, Halee

Life Update + Our New Abode

It's been awhile hasn't it?! Life has definitely been a little crazy for us these last two months with new jobs, a new apartment and generally everything new around us! We've been trying to navigate our way through SF, especially our new 'hood, to become familiar with our surroundings.

Paul and I finally have our favorite grocery stores we like to go to; Trader Joe's for weekend trips when we need a lot of things, Le Beau Market for quality and specialty items (fruit and veggies etc.), Belcampo for meat, and Flatiron for wine. We have SO many good restaurants around us, but we try to cook at home at least 4 times a week, leaving us a few times to eat out (can you blame us?)

My job was located in the Mission, but we just recently moved offices closer to our apartment. Before, I was leaving our apartment at 7:45 a.m. every morning to get to work by 9 a.m. I would get off at 5:30 p.m and wouldn't get home until 6:30 p.m. My commute included about nearly an hour of walking every day and an hour of bus every day (2 hours total commute everyday). Now, it should only take me 20 minutes to walk to work, which really excites me! It takes Paul about 20-30 minutes to walk to work as well, so hopefully him and I have extraordinary calves, butts, and/or abs in the near future. 

Paul and I just recently joined a co-ed soccer team too! We have already played a couple of games, and let me tell you, the weather for soccer here compared to Texas is really incomparable. I do not miss that Texas heat (but I do miss other things including queso, bbq, and a handful of people). 

We have been living in our apartment for a month now (crazy!) and we finally feel like it has come together. We still need a few things, and still want to update some pieces of furniture in the future, but overall it feels like home. Here are some photos of our place for your viewing pleasure - I will also link some of our items so you know where we purchased them. 

 Zhori Bar Cart from  Wayfair  

Zhori Bar Cart from Wayfair 

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 Pillow from Etsy 

Pillow from Etsy 

 Zona 75" Etagere Bookcase from  Wayfair

Zona 75" Etagere Bookcase from Wayfair

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 Ottis Lianne Red Area Rug from  Wayfair  

Ottis Lianne Red Area Rug from Wayfair 

 Freestanding Wood Coat Stand from  Wayfair

Freestanding Wood Coat Stand from Wayfair

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 Banner from  Matriarch Handmade

Banner from Matriarch Handmade

 Pascal Dining Chair from  Wayfair

Pascal Dining Chair from Wayfair

 Regina in stuffed animal form

Regina in stuffed animal form

 All the closet space!

All the closet space!

 Ilkley map from  Uncommon Objects

Ilkley map from Uncommon Objects

 Hallway views

Hallway views

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 Table from  Stuff

Table from Stuff

 Apron from  Hedley and Bennett
 Life currently

Life currently

 Golden Gate to the left (even though I didn't get it in the picture)

Golden Gate to the left (even though I didn't get it in the picture)

 Coit Tower to the right

Coit Tower to the right

And that's a wrap! Thanks for reading and scrolling through. I can't tell you what my next post will be, but it will have something to do with baking, traveling, or more updates on life in SF.

-Halee