Sunday, December 9, 2007

Moving on up....

So,…if you have not already heard…big things are happening in the Gutman family.

As of today we have been traveling nomads for just over a year. We have been part time residents of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Tempe, San Diego, Orange County and currently Seattle. We have been living out of suitcases and racked up tons of miles on the ol’ Grand Cherokee.

As of this month that crazy lifestyle will be coming to a close.

This month Eric was transferred to the Broadway cast of Jersey Boys. It was all very sudden for us. One day we were looking for housing in Houston and trying to plan a nice vacation. Then the next day we were suddenly looking for long term housing in New York.

It was obviously a very stressful month for us.

You see…we never wanted to go to New York. It was never in “the plan”. The plan was always to stay on the road for 1 – 2 years. After that maybe move back to Michigan…or maybe Chicago. Eric had lived in New York before and did not really want to go back…me? I have never wanted to go to New York.

I don’t look at myself as a sheltered person. I love to travel and visit new places. I like visiting New York…but never imagined I would live there. I admit it. I enjoy suburbia, I like having a car and being able to drive to the store. I like camping and looking at the mountains. I like a slower way of life I guess. I just look at New York as the complete opposite of what I am comfortable in. The subways? They scare me. I am totally going to get lost. Not having a car?? I am going to go insane. Living out of a shoebox and paying up the nose for it? I like having a house. Laundromats…no dishwashers or garbage disposals….oy.

So I guess I will have a lot to get use to. I am sure everyone thinks I am insane…and yes, I guess I am being negative. But…I am nervous about this whole move.

Don’t get me wrong…there are many thing I am excited about.

Lets first talk about how excited I am for Eric. This is every actors dream. To have a credit on Broadway…to be in the “big show”. Eric has so much talent and I am extremely proud that he is getting the recognition that he deserves. So, not only does he get to be on Broadway….but he is on Broadway in the hottest ticket in town. It will be sad to leave the tour family that we have had for the past year…but I know we will see all of them again soon.

It will also be nice to have a “home” for at least a year. Living in new cities is fun. I got to live in places that I had never visited and actually have time to explore like a resident vs, just being a tourist. However, it is kind of crazy living out of a suitcase. Just as you are starting to feel comfortable in a certain place you have to pack up and leave. So, now we will have a place where we can just put the suitcases in storage and actually unpack…for at least a year.

I am also pumped that I will not have to sell merchandise anymore. It was nice to have the same work hours as Eric. I really felt apart of the tour working at the theatre every day. HOWEVER….as you know….I am so over all the dumb questions.

What are the differences between the CDs…. (um…read the titles people they are clearly written on the dang CDs!!!!)

Do they sell these anywhere else for cheaper…. (do you ask this at every store you shop in?!?!)

Where are the Jersey Girls t-shirts…this is a sexist show! (hello?? The name of the show is Jersey BOYS!)

Etc etc etc etc etc etc etc…..

So once I am in New York I can finally quit the merch thing and do something a little more up my alley.

What else….

Ah yes…I am going to be able to do my S-factor classes again. That will definitely keep me sane. I am so excited to actually start back with my classes. Actually, when we found out about New York I immediately called the studio and signed up for the next session. Now I just have to figure out how to fit a pole in a shoebox apartment once we get to the city. Somehow I do not think Eric will object…

When we decided that we were going to go to New York I told Eric I was writing up a New York contact. In that contact there were a few things that had to happen in order for us to go there…

1. I get to do S Factor….Check…already signed up.

2. I get to have Pinkberry at least 3 times a week. Yup! That’s right…there is a plethora of Pinkberrys in New York. So, even though there is not one right next to our house (that could be dangerous to the wallet!) they are randomly placed around the city. I am really looking forward to working the yogurt back into my weekly routine.

3. I get a driver instead of taking the subway…so obviously I did not this approved in my contract negotiations. Oh well…I guess I will have to learn to ride the subway like everyone else.

So that’s the big news. I am going to become a New Yorker. Apparently the place that we are going to be renting over the next year has plenty of room for at least 2 air mattresses at a time. Therefore, I am already taking reservations. Please book your flights now to come and visit. I will take you on a tour of the city and we will stop at various pinkberrys along the way.

Seriously though…everyone likes to visit New York and usually flights are pretty cheap into the city…so I expect to see many friends over the next year!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mother Nature Doesn’t Like Me….

We were very sad to leave Orange County. We truly felt like we were on vacation there. But….as we must do at the end of every city…we reluctantly bid goodbye to our beach house and golf carts and packed up the car.

We decided to caravan with our friends in the show Chris & Jenna. Eric was extremely excited when I told him we should buy walkie talkies just in case we were in bad cell phone areas. So we all met early in the morning and headed out….walkie talkies in hand.

The intention was to drive for 10 – 12 hours the first day and get a good deal of the 18 hour drive out of the way. The beginning of our drive started off fine. It was a Sunday so we hit absolutely no traffic. It really was smooth sailing up the I-5. We even got to play some driving games with our fellow caravan-ers through the walkie talkies. Early in the drive we saw a beautiful rainbow…I thought for sure this was a great sign that our drive would be easy as pie…boy was I wrong.

About 100 miles south of Oregon the weather started to get not so good. It started with some rain…then soon after that turned to snow…then soon after that turned into somewhat of a blizzard. I felt like I was back in Michigan. You could hardly see what was in front of you and only one lane on the freeway was really available for driving since the other one was completely snow covered. Who knew it snowed in California? Isnt’ just supposed to be blue skies and ocean?


At this point I would like to interrupt this story of our drive with another story. I used to be a great snow driver…I mean I am from Michigan…we get a good deal of snow there. I drove a crappy ass Dodge Shadow with no power steering in high school and college and I had no problem navigating that thing through Michigan Winters. Spin outs? Fishtailing? No problem…its fun! Well my master snow driving all came to an end when I started working at Chrysler. During my first week as a District Manager in my first field car I had a little bit of an accident. You see…they gave me a Dodge Durango R/T. This was basically a big sports car SUV with street tires. Street tires = no traction. No traction in Michigan =’s problems.

I was driving home from my district on the freeway and all the sudden the car hit a patch of black ice and flipped over into a ditch. We were not hurt…but the car was totaled. Even though we were not injured I was permanently scared. Now…whenever we are driving in snow I kind of freak out. Its no good. I get super tense and maybe even shed a tear or two. I feel ashamed that I am a Michigan girl at heart and cannot even sanely drive when a snow flurry falls from the sky.


Ok…Back to the story….

So here we are in the middle of no where driving in a blizzard in California. We are lucky…we have an SUV….but our friends Chris and Jenna were driving a 92 Honda stick shift. Even the SUV is having some problems driving down the road…I can hardly imagine what it was like to be in the Honda. Finally … we breathe a sigh of relief when we get to a town where we can shack up for the night.

We arrive in lovely Weed, Califonia. It is your basic small town America with NOTHING to do. There are some gross fast food joints and a random Mexican food place. We sit down with our crappy Mexican food carryout and turn on the news to see what we have in store for the next day. All the weather has to “brag” about is the “hurricane force winds” that will be hitting Oregon and Seattle. Woo Hoo…something to look forward to.

So we got to sleep….we wake up to crazy wind sounds outside. Good thing is…most of the snow is already melted…bad thing…its crazy ass windy. In fact…it is so windy that as we are fueling up for our drive the McDonalds sign next to the gas station actually gets blown out…little pieces of McDonalds sign go flying…we know its time to get the heck out of Weed!

Surprisingly, once we leave weed the winds calm down and the drive is not that bad. It rains on and off but nothing major. We see 2 more rainbows and I think again this must be a sign for a good day.

Um…not so much….

So we drive…and it starts to rain a little more…

Jenna’s mom calls and says she heard about this crazy bad flooding and mud slides in Oregon and Washington.

We think….maybe that’s just on the coast…this rain is not that bad.

About 90 miles from our destination we pull up on I-5 to a detour…that’s weird? This freeway is closed? We get off and try to find a way around the blockage…not really knowing how bad it was. We drive for about 30 minutes…in and around this very small town. Everywhere we turn roads are closed due to flooding. Finally we stop and ask a fireman what the deal was.

He explained to us that I-5 was basically flooded out for 20 miles and there was NO WAY around it. Everything is the county was flooded out. He said…I can tell you about 11 ways to get to Seattle from here not taking the I-5…but all of them are under water.


He advises us to turn back around and go back 30 miles to a random town and get a room there for the night. Coincidentally…there were about 5 other cars of people in the cast also making the drive. So there we are…1/4 of the Jersey Boys cast all holed up in Longview, Washington. We were so close to our destination…but yet so far.

We read online that I-5 will be closed for at least 36 hours if not longer….they advise online that the only detour will take 8 hours in good weather. Here is the problem….all theses people have to be in Seattle for the show…we had to get there…we could not wait 36 (or more) hours to wait for I-5 to dry up. Were we going to have to make this 8 hour detour drive????

So…,maybe rainbows are not good signs for driving…but maybe they are a good sign for strange coincidences. One of the guys with us…his family is actually from Longview, Washington…and his uncle actually works for the road commission. He advises him of an alternate route that is only 2-3 hours (compared to the 8 hr one). Yes! We did not have to make that horrible 8 extra hour drive.

In the morning we all pack up our stuff and cross our fingers that this alternate route is not under water as well. So there we are ….. 4 cars of Jersey Boys driving through Washington hoping that the worst rain in history does not catch up with us.

The detour drive was beautiful. We drove through crazy winding roads and mountains. We hit a bit of rain but nothing too crazy. Its good to know someone that has the inside info on roads!!! Maybe rainbows are good for something….

FINALLY….after way too many days of driving and way too many detours we pull into our destination.

So here we are. We are staying at an amazing house that overlooks Pugent Sound You thought we had some good views in San Diego and Laguna Beach?? The views we have here are out of control. The owner of the house says sometimes you can see bald eagles and whales from the huge picture windows in the living room.

It’s a nice place to FINALLY be in….however long that may be…..

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I seriously feel like I am on vacation.

So...after San Diego we headed a bit north and settled in the O.C. (thats Orange County for you non MTV or Fox TV watchers). I have a very kind family member that was nice enough to let Eric and I stay at their swanky beach house for the time the show is in Costa Mesa.

We did not even know what we were in store for. The house is amazing with a fabulous kitchen and a housekeeper that comes once a week! And the view...I mean...I am never going to want to leave. Our front porch overlooks the ocean and on clear days you can see Catalina in the distance.

Not too shabby eh? We can take a golf cart down to our private beach everyday. We are really being be honest it is a bit ridiculous. But...we are savoring every second of it and will be really sad to pack up and leave in less than 10 days.

So what have we been up to? The first weekend we were here some of my friends from Michigan came out to visit. It was so nice to see my friends since I had not seen them since our wedding. It was a pretty relaxed weekend. Just some hot chicks playing lots euchre and catch phrase (I know...pretty crazy!!!).

Friday we headed out to this fabulous fondue restaurant in San Juan Capistrano called La Fondue. It was amazing. I know, fondue is fondue right? Wrong! First of all the place was decorated it a super cool hip way. Every area of the restaurant was different. Leopard print wall here, praying guy there, velvet booth over there...we loved it. The food was amazing. They had so many crazy choices of meets with your main course we did not know where to start...and the chocolate...oh the chocolate. I have been to many fondue places before...but this place had peanut butter and cream cheese balls to dip in the chocolate ... it was out of control. So now you are probably wondering: Hey Sarah, so this place sounds really cool...where are all the fun pictures of you and your friends eating fondue? I bet those would be some great pics!

Well...yes...they would be great pictures I am sure of it...sadly...out of the 4 of us...we all forgot our cameras. Sad but I guess you will just have to imagine 4 hot ladies dressed to the nines....out on the town.

Saturday they came and saw the show and of course loved it....

Sunday we met up with some of my friends in Newport Beach for football Sunday. I felt like we were back in college. We spent at least 5 hours in the bar (while Eric was off at work) watching various football games and eating crappy food.

Of course the day had to end on a high note when I got a parking I really felt like I was back in college (remind me later to tell you the story of how I had so many parking tickets in college that there was a warrant out for my story...please note the sarcasm).

Sadly on Monday my friends had to leave the beautiful state of California and head back to the snowy state of Michigan. Thanks for coming out ladies....I miss you already!!!

So I guess that takes us up to this week. Thanksgiving and my hubbies birthday.

So...Thanksgiving. It was a special thanksgiving this year. We had a freaking show. The company was nice enough to give us a thanksgiving dinner before the show. It was a nice thought but it was a sad example of a thanksgiving dinner. It was at a it was hotel food. In the back of my head all I could think about was the humongous feast that my dad was serving back home. Eric and I both love thanksgiving and were both kind of sad that we were not spending it at home with our families.

BUT! Everything was redeemed the following day.

Friday (the day after thanksgiving) was Eric's big 30th birthday. My friend Kim and her husband Vipe (they live in the area) were kind enough to prepare us a REAL thanksgiving dinner for lunch. Eric and I thought we were just getting leftovers. Instead...Kim prepared us a full meal. She cooked a turkey, made yams, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing..the whole sha-bang. It was out of control and exactly what we needed. We stuffed our faces until we could eat no more! We were so thankful for Kim and it totally made Erics birthday.

After the HUGE meal we all walked down to the beach with our respective dogs and let them frollic in the ocean before treking back home.

Once home we brought out the birthday cake. Since Eric was getting costco cake (his favorite) at the theatre I decided to make him something different. A few days ago my friend Emily posted a fabulous pumpkin cheesecake recipe. It looked declious and I thought now was a perfect time for me to make my first cheesecake. I was super nervous about it...but I gotta tell you it turned out great!
So...I guess that catches you up on us! I have many a new merchandise stories for hopefully I will get back on the blog bandwagon.

Finally...I just want to once again wish my handsome husband a very happy 30th birthday!

Happy Birthday Eric!!

You mean the world to me and I feel so lucky to have you in my life! I look forward to celebrating many more birthdays in the future with you! I Love you!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I have been a bad blogger...lets catch you up!

I have been a bad little blogger. No updates in over a month?? I have no excuses. Lets catch you up and finish up San Diego.

SO....our last few weeks in San Diego were pretty uneventful. The smoke and ash in the air from the fire really hit me hard and I was sick for about 10 days strait. In the mist of all the yucky coughing we were still able to do some fun things.

We had a show on Halloween. But after the show the company threw a Halloween party. I love halloween. It is one of my favorite holidays. I just love the smell of all the pumpkins burning on peoples porches, making sweets that have pumpkin things in them, all the great candy and of course dressing my dog up in a costume. Yes...I am one of those people. We dress Toby up as a chicken ... he stayed in his costume just long enough for me to take a picture of him. He was not happy with us.

Toby's Best Friend Fendor as a Monkey!

The cast Halloween Party was a lot of fun. I was (slutty) Harry Potter and Eric was actually another guy in the cast. Funny story...Eric planned on dressing up as one of the other cast members...when he heard about this (someone ratted Eric out) he ended up dressing up like Eric. It was all very confusing and funny.
The minority Harry Potters

I am confused...which one is my husband?

Before we left San Diego we had to go to the Zoo. Ever since I have been a little kid I am heard what an amazing place the San Diego zoo was. We were lucky enough to get free tix to the zoo (that place is much more expensive then my good ol' hometown Detroit Zoo). Eric and I woke up early and headed over to the Zoo as we heard the best time to go was in the morning. Almost every animal was out an walking around. That zoo is a workout in itself! Every route is filled with hills! We had a lot of fun and it was nice to just hold hands and walk around the zoo together.

Yes...Eric found it absolutely necessary to take a picture of a monkey scratching it's butt

We were very sad to pack up and leave San Diego. I think its the first real city that we will actually miss. It was really amazing to see the city come together during the fires. The city actually seemed like one big family.

We had a great time in San Diego and Toby was so happy with his best friend Fender....they were very sad when we were packing up....

So now we are in Orange County. I promise I will post again very soon and update you all on our new digs!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

6 Month Anniversary!

6 months already?!?!?!

I feel like it was just yesterday that Eric & I packed our bags and flew to the Dominican Republic for our wedding. It was such an amazing time and I think back to it almost every day.

I just feel so thankful to have Eric in my life. I know that he is my soul mate. Without him I would not be the person I am today. I know that he loves me so much and each day is like a new adventure for us.

So with that...another excuse to post some wedding pictures!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Things you MUST try.....

Toby and Fender Cuddling....
has nothing to do with this blog....just thought it was too cute not to share


So....I really try to keep cooking blogs to a minimum. I only want to share recipes/cooking things when I feel like I am doing a total disservice by not sharing.

Yesterday the show was canceled and everyone was urged to stay inside since the air quality was not that great outside. So...what do I do when I am chillin' inside? Cook!!

I had read a few recipes that I really wanted to try and this was the perfect opportunity.

First off...I love Indian Food. I really got turned onto in a few years ago when my boss at Chrysler was Indian. He told me and my friends about this place near my house and my life was never the same. When me and my friend Lorelei were first introduced to this place I think we literally went there a few times a week. It was a bit ridiculous.

In a friends blog entry the other day she posted a recipe for my favorite Indian dish...Chicken Tikka Masala. It looked delish and I knew I had to try and make it. I was a little intimidated...I mean how could anything come close to my favorite Inidan spot. I have to admit...I was very impressed with myself. It tasted just like it came from the restaurant. It is definietly going on the "cook again" list (see recipe below).

Next up ... dessert. As I have previously mentioned I love the food network. One of the people I always watch is Ina Garten aka the Barefoot Contessa. On one of the message boards I visit some of the ladies had all been discussing how amazing one of her brownie recipes were. Several people noted that they were the best brownies they had ever had. I knew I had to give it a try.

Um...I cannot even describe these brownies in words to you. They are truely some of the best brownies I have ever had. They are super chocolately and a pure taste of chocolate heaven. If you like chocolate you must make these and make them soon! You will never be the same again.

Here are some pics and recipes for you....

Chicken Tikka Masala
from Good Eats n' Sweet Treats
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspon garam masala
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers

2 tablespoon butter
4 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (I used about 1/4)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
1.5 cups heavy cream (For a lighter option Jaime used: 12oz can fat free evaporated milk + 1/4 cup cream; or 2 cups fat free evaporated milk)
1 tomato, chopped, or 1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
In a large bowl, combine marinade ingredients: yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, salt and garam masala. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour (or longer...).

Preheat a grill for high heat.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.

Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with cumin, paprika, garam masala and salt. Stir in tomato sauce, diced/chopped tomatoes and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Outragous Brownies
from The Barefoot Contessa

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour, divided- 1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced walnut pieces (I deleted the walnuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and bitter chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not overbake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stay Safe San Diego....

It is so weird being in this city right now. I guess the only "natural disasters" that I have ever dealt with were some small tornado's in Michigan.

As of last night in San Diego county 500 homes had been destroyed and 250 damaged; 100 commercial buildings destroyed and 75 damaged; at least 145,000 acres have burned; and over 250,000 people have been evacuated. They continue to say that it is just going to get worse before it gets better. The last I heard some areas are only 5% contained...some areas 0% contained. The more I listen to the news...the more evacuations they have.

We are in the city and the majority of the fire is happening North of us. Most of the news is urging people to stay off the roads, conserve energy, do not make calls on your cell phone, etc. It kind of makes you feel helpless. Everyone in San Diego is trying to help out in any way they can. Welcoming people into their homes...donating time...most of the evacuation centers have even announced on the news that they have way too many volunteers and to just stay home for now. It is very odd to just watch everything on the tv and not being able to do anything.

smoky views from our house

I have a few friends that have been evacuated and one that even saw her house burn down on the news. It is just so devastating and it really just seemed to come with no warning. I cannot imagine seeing photos of your home going down in flames. She mentioned that when they were told to evacuate she had no time to grab anything. There were literally flames on her street that she had to drive through to leave. I cannot even imagine.

The air quality is pretty bad. As you can see from the pictures above, the city is covered in a cloud of smoke and everything smells like a campfire. Even here in the city our balcony has a small layer of ash covering the ground.

Well, we just got a call from stage management. The show for tonight is canceled. Apparently, the air quality is so bad in the theatre that they do not want people sitting there for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Obviously, I think this is the smart thing to do considering all the requests not to drive and not to overuse electricity. I just never thought they would cancel considering they really like to make dinero. Glad to know they are looking out for people.

My thoughts go out to everyone affected in and around the San Diego area. I just hope that they get this under control soon.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

We Are Here! (a week in review)

Well....we have been in San Diego for about a week now and we are loving it!

Lets backtrack just a little...I know I have been a bad blogger lately. The week before we left Arizonia Eric was on as a lead for about a week. My dad had never seen the show, so when he heard Eric was going on he dropped everything bought a ticket for him and his fiance and hoped a plane to Arizonia.
My dad never really takes vacations (well except for my wedding) so this was a nice little break for them. My dad is not the hugest theatre person. When he came out to the lobby after intermission him and his fiance Cheri could not stop talking about how much they were enjoying it. It was very cute to see how proud they were of Eric. So...they loved the show (of course)...we got to spend some time with them...and then they were able to enjoy a beautiful day in Sedona. Thanks for coming out Dad & Cheri we really enjoyed having you here!!

So after 2 shows on saturday and 2 shows on sunday we packed up the car and headed out to our next city early Monday morning. It was a pretty uneventful drive...even Toby was bored:
We drove through a lot of random towns and ate some really bad Wendy's...and about 6 hours later we were at our new AMAZING home.

I do not know how we got so lucky with this place. I mean our jaws dropped when we walked in the door. We are on the 27th floor of a 30 floor building. We have 2 balconies that overlook the water. We have huge floor to ceiling windows. I could go on and on. Toby is loving the new digs. He sits on the couch in our bedroom and just looks outside all day. We are also living with Toby's new best friend. The guy that plays Frankie Valli in the show and his new wife our the new roommates. They also have an adorable boston terrier (Fender). Toby and Fender play is fabulous...when they rest...they rest together and it is possible the cutest thing on the planet:

So lets talk views. We have the best views. We see the cruise ships pull in..there is a crazy aircraft carrier in the water...on nice days the bay is filled with is amazing. These were from this morning...

The week ended with the opening night party of the show. It was nothing to write home about. By the time we got there all the food was gone and it was a cash bar (well, minus the 1 drink ticket we each got). But at least we got a good self portrait! I would not be a party without one...
So we headed home and had a nice glass of wine overlooking the city.....ahhhh....not too shabby.

No more Red Lobster for me!

I really do not like eating at chain restaurants. You know…like the Applebee’s, Chili’s, TGI Fridays of the world? There are just way too many good restaurants in the world to waste my superior palette at the chains (please note the sarcasm here….). I could never understand why in places like New York or Los Angeles …. where there are some of the best restaurants in the world… there are lines out the door to a Red Lobster.

BUT…do you ever eat something at one of these places that you just fall in love with?

That is my relationship with Red Lobster. I hate their food. It is gross. Someone told me once that they use to work next to a Red Lobster and the staff (after closing) would actually race the lobsters across the dirty floors. EW!

If you have never been to a Red Lobster…you are not missing much. But one of the things you are missing is their amazing cheddar biscuits that they serve for their bread. These things are so good. I used to have an old roommate who worked at the ol’ Red Lobster and we would beg her to bring us cheddar biscuits. These delectable bread wonders are the only reason why I would step through the doors of a red lobster. Sad…that the “free” thing at the restaurant is the thing that I want the most.

The other day my friend gave me the recipe for the biscuits. I will never have to go to a red lobster again!!! They are so easy to make and I feel like they taste pretty darn similar.

Eric took one bite of the biscuit…some drool dropped out of the side of his mouth…and he proclaimed: This is the best biscuit I have ever had in my life. Its possible there were even swear words mixed in there.

So…I share this simple recipe with you in hopes that you too will never have to visit a Red Lobster again!!
Red Lobster Biscuits
from Good Eats & Sweet Treats

2 cups Bisquick mix
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/4 cup butter - melted

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Combine first 3 ingredients until moist. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, or until golden.

While the biscuits are baking, mix melted butter, parsley and garlic.

Pour over hot biscuits and serve.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Super Secret Vacation!

I hate surprises. Well...let me rephrase that. I hate mystery.

I always read tv show spoilers so I know what is going to happen. I always snoop around and ask for hints on birthday presents. I always like to know what is going on! So when I walked into our bedroom Sunday night and there was a suitcase on the bed with Eric standing next to it I was very confused. Eric told me what I had to pack but would give me no hints as to what we were going. All he told me was that he had planned a short little overnight "somewhere" surprise vacation and that I would get no more hints.

This all made me very anxious. I could not get to sleep that night. Had he properly researched the hotel on tripadvisor? Had he gone on yelp or citysearch and found one of the top rated restaurants to have dinner?? What kind of research had been done?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

A normal person would have just been excited......

So at 10am the next day we said goodbye to Toby the dog (it is nice to have a room mate that likes crazy puggles) and hopped in the car. I was still poking and prodding and begging for hints but none were given.

About an hour and 45 minutes outside of Phoenix is one of the most beautiful places in America...Sedona. Sedona's main attraction is its amazing array of red sandstone formations (or red rocks). The Red Rocks form a breathtaking backdrop for everything from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails.

As soon as I started to see the Red Rocks in the distance I knew where we were going. I really wanted to go to Sedona while in Arizona but we just did not seem to have enough time (being as we only have 1 day off a week). Eric was sweet enough to plan this secret trip and make time in our schedule so we could just ignore the errands that we had to run and just relax.

We drove up to a very cute boutique hotel that had the beautiful red rocks in the backround (The Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa)

Our room was not ready we decided to get out and enjoy the beautiful landscape. There are literally hundreds of hiking trails in and around Sedona. After studying the hiking map we decided on a trail and headed out.

Neither Eric or I had hiking shoes with us. So...we tried to choose a trail that was not too easy but not one of the crazy strenuous ones. We pulled up to the red rocks trail and it was amazing. It was so quiet and peaceful and I fully understood why Sedona was such a spiritual place.

We started our hike up the trail and were lucky enough to see 2 perfect hiking sticks sitting there right in front of was fate!

The views from the trail we were on were amazing. We never passed another person on our hike. It was great just to be out in this amazing place with my new hubby. I just wish we would have had some hiking shoes as regular running shoes on red rock do not have the best traction!

And of course it would not be a Gutman vacation without a cheese ball picture......

After our hike we were starving and went to seek out someplace to grab something to eat. We had dinner reservations so we just wanted something small. We found the cutest little restaurant with an intimate little outside dining area (The Heartline Cafe).
I won't bore you with the details. All I have to mention is that they had the most amazing soup I have ever had. Roasted pear & butternut squash with toasted pecans on top. If you are ever in Sedona you must get this soup....and then order like 10 extra bowls...package them up...and overnight them to me. Don't worry I will pay you back!

After our small lunch we headed to the downtown. It was pretty touristy...cheesey shops with knick knacks. However there was one thing that caught my eye....this fudge place. You see..I am from Michigan and we have this place called Mackinaw Island. Mackinaw Island makes the best fudge ever. I cannot eat fudge from anywhere else because the fudge on Mackinaw Island is so good. I am walking past this store and they have a sign in the window saying "Our Fudge Recipe is from Mackinaw Island". Well....of course I had to go in and get some....and I have to was pretty damn good.

Moving on....Eric and I were pretty tired so we decided to go back to the hotel and check in. The room was very cute. The bed had a fabulous mattress and a great down comforter. I am such a sucker for hotels that have down totally makes the room!
The bed was extremely comfy that I actually fell into a very deep sleep. Eric woke me up just in enough time to get all primped up for our romantic dinner.

Oh...yes....the obligatory self portrait....
We had a very nice dinner .... well minus the cheese ball waiter that seemed like he should be working at a T.G.I. Friday's. For instance ... he introduced himself by saying..."hey, I am nate...short for nathan". Um...ok...

When we returned to the room Eric had arranged for some chocolate covered strawberries and champagne to be waiting for us.

All in all it was an amazing (too short) vacation. I wish we could have stayed longer and gotten a spa treatment overlooking the landscape....but...I guess that gives me something to look forward to for next time.

I feel very lucky that I have a husband that loves me so that will plans me surprise vacations (even though I can be hard to handle when the word surprise is mentioned).

If you ever get the opportunity I strongly suggest you visit Sedona. It certainly is one of the most beautiful places in America.