A Healthy Start

In an attempt to add a little (relatively healthful) variety to my usual breakfast of oatmeal, I bake batches of granola made of rolled oats and barley, nuts, wheat germ, dried coconut, and flax seed, all of which is lightly moistened with a mixture of canola oil and maple syrup and then roasted until lightly browned.  After cooled, I add raisins, dates, or other dried fruit.


Served with some plain yogurt and some fresh fruit – in this case, passion fruit pulp – it makes for a nice breakfast, no?  I’d like to believe it is also a healthful but in addition to the whole grains and good fats, I think it is pretty high in calories.  Thoughts?


Vacation in a Beach House

For our vacation with my sister, brother-in-law, and nieces, we opted to rent a three-bedroom house in Hermosa Beach, just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean.  Not only did this work out quite reasonably financially – roughly $400 a night – but it gave us a lot more room than a hotel would have, plus the ability to easily cook our own food and do our own laundry.


Tawn leads a junior yoga class, which was surprisingly effective at helping the girls calm down, focus, and not get into squabbles with each other.  Maybe we should sign them up for daily classes?

Actually, we didn’t rent one house, but two.  The initial house was booked for our final three nights but the property manager had another similar house just three blocks away, so we moved into that one.  I have to really credit this lady, she was super friendly and very helpful.  If you are ever looking to rent a vacation home in Los Angeles, I’d be happy to recommend either of her two properties.  (This is the first house, a 3br/3 ba and this is the second house, a 3 br/1ba.)


We did a little less cooking at home than I had anticipated, but we did eat at least breakfast at home each day, allowing for some cost savings.  As soon as we moved in I made a big (2 pound) batch of pizza dough and kept it in the refrigerator for use in a couple of meals.  Who doesn’t like pizza?  Here’s the girls shape their own pizzas.


And there’s the finished but not-yet-cooked product, ready to go into the oven.  Their dough ended up kind of triangle shaped, huh?


And of course there was room for everybody to pitch in with cleaning up and loading the dishwasher.


Once you do that, we can bundle up (it was chilly by the beach in the evenings) and head to Pinkberry for some dessert.


The second house we were in had TVs in each room, something I wouldn’t approve of at home but certainly fine for a vacation home.  That provided everyone with the opportunity to lounge in bed in the morning and watch cartoons.  As you can tell from this picture, we had already gone to Disneyland and everybody (including Tawn) had their stuffed animal.


A view of Tawn walking along the Strand, the 22-mile class 1 paved pedestrian/skater/bicycle path that stretches along pretty much all of Los Angeles County’s western coast from Pacific Palisades to Torrance.  This grey overcast was a fixture of our vacation, at least when we were near the beach.



(Entries are bouncing around a bit chronologically but I’m still in LA on vacation.)

One treat I’ve indulged in several times while in LA is Pinkberry, the premium frozen yogurt chain started here in 2005 by Shelly Hwang and Young Lee.  Reviving the craze of the 1980s, when there was a frozen yogurt store in every corner strip mall, Hwang and Lee have expanded from their first store in Los Angeles to more than 100 locations across the US and even internationally.

Tawn, Anita, Samantha, Lily, and Lalima enjoy their Pinkberry in Culver City.

I’m not about to claim that this is some incredible food that you must rush out and try, but it is pretty good.  I like that the quality seems high, they use only fresh fruits (not frozen or canned) as toppings, and if you choose carefully, a Pinkberry frozen yogurt can be a pretty healthful dessert or snack.  One morning when I was at the Southwest Airlines terminal at LAX perusing my breakfast options, I realized that a Pinkberry yogurt with fresh berries and some low fat granola on top would be the best option among the breakfast pizzas, Croissanwhiches, and breakfast burritos on offer.

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My sister and her family are in town now staying with Tawn and me at a beach house

.  We went to Pinkberry last night.  While they have frozen yogurt places in Kansas City, they are nothing like Pinkberry.  There it is self-serve yogurt with flavors that underwhelm with their artificiality.  Here it is pure, tangy goodness with lots of fresh toppings.

Even though it was a chilly evening by the beach, we bundled up for some Pinkberry!