Chatting Over Chocolate

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Trip Report Tuesday: California Day 6 {Part 3} // Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa and Dinner at Cannery Row

Happy Tuesday, friends!  You all make it so much fun to share these adventures each week!  Let's dive right in for some more California fun!

Day 6 - Thursday, September 15, 2016

After enjoying a magical afternoon at The Walt Disney Family Museum we had only one more pit stop we had to make in San Francisco, McDonald's!  Okay, I'm not typically a big McD's fan, but I do have a weak spot for their french fries.  All over San Francisco I'd seen ads for McDonald's fries, not the fries we have back home though.  These ads enticed me with Gilroy Garlic Fries, only available in California!  If you've been around here for a while you know I love trying limited edition/speciality twists on favorites, making this a must-try fry!  

Gilroy Garlic Fries are topped with a scrumptious blend of olive oil, parmesan, parsley, and of course, garlic.  They were made fresh to order and even more delicious than I'd imagined they'd be!  My mouth is watering just remembering them.  Yum!  After this worthy pit stop we were on the road again, Monterey-bound...

One of my favorite things about this adventure across the breathtaking state of California was road tripping through such a vast array of scenery.  The views during this drive were stunning!

We arrived at our hotel, the lovely and luxurious Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa in the early evening.

This hotel is incredible and the list of their complimentary services and amenities includes everything from complimentary valet and nightly turndown service, to courtesy Land Rovers and complimentary shoe shines.  Neither of the latter were needed by my family, but the nightly turndown service was something I could definitely get used to. 

Would you like a tour of our room?

These beds were AMAZING!  I still think about how comfortable they were!  It was like sleeping on a cloud!  *happy sigh*

Now for the reason I could hardly wait to check in to this hotel, the ocean view!

After checking in and freshening up we enjoyed a nice stroll to Cannery Row for dinner. 

When in Monterey there was no dinner debate, it had to be fresh seafood.  I'm not really big into seafood myself, but I can always go for some fish and chips, while my seafood loving family enjoy their favorites!

We ate at a place called Louie Linguini's Seafood Shack.  The view from our table was perhaps even better than the food!

It was a fantastic family night out!

We returned to a turndown serviced room, welcomed with beautiful music and complimentary bottles of water and chocolates awaiting us on our beside table.  It was truly a relaxing and wonderful finish to a memorable evening in Monterey!

Thanks so much for popping by today!  It's such a joy to share these travels with you!  Next week I'll take you along to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the inspiration for "Finding Dory"!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Five Loves on Friday

Top o' the mornin' to ya, friends!  Happy Friday and Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Let's get right to the good stuff.  It's Five Loves time!...

One  //  An Extended Weekend

Jason took his first vacation day of the year on Monday and we enjoyed a three day weekend as a family!  It was so incredibly refreshing!  Extra family time makes the top of any loves list, for sure!

Two  //  Zoo & IMAX

We got a new family zoo pass for the year which includes free admission to the zoo's IMAX theater movies.  Even though temps were below freezing we enjoyed visiting our zoo's Desert Dome (it was warm in there - ha!), then headed to a 3D film about the National Parks.  It was an absolutely stunning film and had a great soundtrack too, including a song from one of my favorites, the Lumineers!  When the adventurers in the movie arrived at Yosemite memories from our recent vacation came rushing back. *Happy sigh!*

Three  //  Extra Sunshine

The one thing I enjoy about daylight savings time is the extra daylight into the evenings!  It has been so glorious keeping the curtains open and enjoying more of those spectacular rays flooding the house in the early evening hours!  I'm looking forward to the warmer temps to come when we can be outside enjoying the daylight too!

Four  //  Holiday Sweet Treats

I'd seen these reviewed on YouTube and had wanted to try them ever since.  We couldn't find them anywhere we shopped, until I took the girls on a Big Lots run and there they were in all their chocolate minty glory!  I liked these so much more than Hostess' traditional cupcakes.  There is just a hit of mint to that extra creamy center and it's delightful!  I only wish I'd picked up a second box while there.  If you spot them in a goody aisle near you (and you enjoy this sort of treat) I'd highly recommend scooping one up while you can!  If you don't like them, I'd gladly take them off your hands. ;)

Five  //  Birthday BYOP

Yesterday was my Aunt Ednah's birthday and we celebrated at my parents' place with a B.Y.O.P. party.  Never heard of that?  Me neither, but my creative mama thought it'd be fun for each family invited to bring their favorite pizza, keeping the cost for everyone down and the variety of flavors up!  We had a great time celebrating and enjoying the time together as a family!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you a fantastic weekend ahead!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Most-Requested Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese (5 Ingredients to YUM!)

Today I'm pleased to share one of my all-time favorite recipes with you!  This is a cinch to put together and always a hit at any party or family dinner!  I hope you'll pin, whip up sometime soon, and most of all, enjoy!

Most-Requested Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese
(5 Ingredients to YUM!)
Originally written and published here on February 5, 2103

You know that one recipe that you're known for? The delicious dish that shortly after receiving an invite to a gathering you're asked, "Would you please bring..." That recipe you've had so many requests for that you could write it out in your sleep. This is mine. I'm pleased to share with you my most-requested crockpot macaroni and cheese! It could not be simpler, yet when it's done, your taste buds couldn't be happier!


1 1/2 cups of large elbow macaroni 
1 cup Velveeta, cubed 
1 can whole kernel corn, undrained 
2 cans cream corn, undrained 
1 stick of butter/margarine, melted 

*This recipe is written as I prepare it for serving my family at home. When serving larger crowds I normally double or triple all ingredients (except butter, 1 stick is always good ... unless you may be serving Paula Deen! ;))

Steps to Creating Cheesy Happiness:

1. Spray crockpot. 

2. Place all of the ingredients in the crockpot. 

3. Stir everything together. 

4. Cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours. {Stirring occasionally} 

5. EAT, ENJOY ... & be sure to SHARE! ;)

Wishing you cheese covered forks & happy taste buds!,

Thanks for stopping by! Don't be shy. Please say, "HI!"

I was honored to have this recipe featured at: