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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mission San Juan Capistrano | California Trip Day 6 (Part 2)

Mission San Juan Capistrano was first founded October 30th 1775 by Father Lasuen and a detachment of soldiers. 

But a few weeks after they received word of a revolt in San Diego, the group returned to San Diego to help. 

The mission was re-founded on November 1, 1776 (All saints day). It is the seventh of twenty-one missions to be founded Alta California. 

Like the other six missions, San Juan Capistrano was established to expand the boundaries of Spain and to spread Christianity to the Native peoples of California.The missions were the center of learning and training for the Natives.

Over the next thirty years the Mission grew by leaps and bounds. In 1806 Mission San Juan Capistrano had a population of over 1,000 people, over 10,000 head of cattle and they had completed the "Great Stone Church"

Sadly after 1812 the mission began to decline an earthquake struck causing the Great Stone Church to cave in killing forty people who tried to escape through the doors that had been twisted in there frames.

The Spanish government could not protect and keep the mission's supplied with the supplies they needed.

In 1821 Mexico won its independence from Spain, By 1834 the Mexican government decided to end the mission system completely, giving the land from Mission San Juan Capistrano were divided and sold to twenty prominent Families from California.

The Mission was sold at auction to John Forster Governor Pio Pico's brother-in-law for $710 even though it was valued to be worth more than $54,000.

Over the next twenty years the mission was a private ranch property of the Forster family

In 1848 California became part of the United States as part of the "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo" Only two years after become a territory of the United States in 1850 it became a state. President Lincoln gave the mission back to the Catholic church.

On March 9th every year at dawn swallows return to the mission to rebuild their mud nests clinging to the shell of the old Stone Church. 

People from all over the world gather to watch "the miracle of the swallows" as the birds arrive from Argentina. 

On October 23rd they take flight again circling the mission twice as if to say goodbye then turn their wings back toward Argentina.  

Catch up on our adventure! Day 6 (part 1)  Day 6 (Part 3)

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Amazing Broccoli Cheese Soup II

We made this soup after we lost grandma.  You know those days. We were eating at Panera Bread because no one felt like cooking and we made this soup and have not had Panera since. :)  This is a really creamy soup with lots of flavor.  It is so good.  We have not had it in a bread bowl yet but it would be wonderful.  This recipe makes about 7 - 8 bowls of soup.  It is even better the second day warmed up.  

New Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe


2 Tbsp. Organic Butter
1 Organic Sweet Onion chopped.  (I threw this In my blender with a little water to really chop it up).
1 cup of organic flour
½ cup of organic butter
2 cups organic milk
2 cups organic cream (You can use all milk if you want to.)
4 cups of organic bone broth (recipe here ) or chicken broth
1 pound of organic broccoli chopped well (about 2 cups I would say)
2 cups of carrots (I did the same with these as I did my onions.  I wanted them quite small.)
Ground nutmeg.  I put about 2 dashes in.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Grated organic cheddar or cheese of your choice.


In a sauté’ pan place 2 Tbsp. butter to melt.
Take onion and chop in half and place in your blender with a small amount of water to chop or in your food processor. You can just hand chop them also if you want to.  After chopping place this in the pan with your butter and cook until tender and sweet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside in bowl.
In a large stock pot mix in your remaining butter and flour.  Cook for about 3 minutes until the butter is melted and the flour is all wet.  It should be thick. With your whisk slowly pour in the bone broth until it is combined and no lumps remain.  Do the same thing for the milk and the cream.  Set on burner and let simmer for about 20 minutes on medium / low.  Stir frequently and do not allow this to boil.
In my small pan I steamed my broccoli and carrots while the soup simmered.  I tried just cooking this in with the broth but it still was a bit firm. Set aside. 
When the soup has simmered 20 minutes add the onion, broccoli and carrots to the stock pot.  Stir to mix well and simmer another 20 to 25 minutes. 

Ladle into your favorite bowl and top with shredded cheese.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pancakes, Lake Elsinore & Ortega Highway | California Trip Day 6 (Part 1)

What better way to start off the morning than with pancakes and a furry friends company? This is my Uncle and Aunts dog, Buddy. Isn't he adorable!

I mean look at that sweet little face! We left after breakfast to head toward the beach, but we made a couple stops along the way. We started out at Trader Joes in Temecula for some vitamins for my cold which is sadly hanging on and some bottled water and that is why this is part one of three.

Our first stop the City of Lake Elsinore. Such a beautiful place! The lake is gorgeous and the mountains that surround it are amazing! Elsinore is a city in Riverside County, California

Lake Elsinore is opening at sunrise and sets at sunset. This lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in Southern California with 3,000 surface acres and over 14 miles of shoreline.

Some of lake Elsinore's attractions are motor boating, jet skiing, water-skiing, wake boarding, kayaking and fishing, Hiking, nature walks, picnic places and fishing. My uncle said the water table was down because of lack of rain.  It was still quite pretty.

The Luiseno Indians are the earliest known inhabitants of this area, their name translates "Hot Springs by the Little Sea". Some Native American pictographs can be found on rocks in the Ortega mountains. Spaniards called the lake "Laguna Grande". 

Later as part of the Mexican Land Grant "Rancho La Laguna" Don Agustin Machado acquired the 12,832 acres "rancho" in 1858. The city was later named "Elsinore" by Margret Collier. The name is taken from Shakespeare's play Hamlet. In 1972 the name of the city was changed to the City of Lake Elsinore.  

The Ortega Highway. A scenic but dangerous curvy highway that winds it's way up the mountains.
Another look at Lake Elsinore

Rugged cliffs on the Ortega Highway.  Makes me think of an old western. How about you?

Snow-capped mountains in the distance. 

Keep up with our adventures! Day 5  Day 6 (Part 2)

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

SeaWorld | California Trip Day 5

Darling it's better, down where it's wetter, under the sea. Admit it. You heard Sebastian from little mermaid's voice in your head didn't you?

Today we are heading to SeaWorld!

The last time we were here was for my second birthday.

There aren't a lot of people here because it rained this morning. I feel a lot better this morning.

To Purchase, photos click here 

But I can't smell anything. Grrrrrr! This darn cold morphs into something else everyday! We are just a skip from the beach, Mrs. Cottage and Brianna keep saying it smells wonderful. I can't smell anything so I don't know, but I can taste it! That's better than nothing I guess.

By the way, those cleaner fish in the picture up above were awesome! Seriously I want some!

There are so many amazing creatures here! Some I wouldn't want to meet in the wild, though. Some of the fish were absolutely stunning!

This pretty bird just was hanging out watching us as we said hello to the sea lions.  He didn't mind getting close enough to me to photograph.

These guys were absolutely adorable!

It was so cute to watch little kids and the grown up kind (wink) imitate there "barking" sound back to them.

After all, how many people can say they talked to a seal in their own language?

We stopped by this guy's home while he was having lunch... I now know why you shouldn't talk with your mouth full.  Kids, ask this walrus, he will tell you!  This guy is HUGE by the way!

Love this little guy... ok big guy. This is a beluga whale. He looked so playful. We had to decide between interaction with the dolphins or these guys, such a hard choice. Love that face! But in the end, dolphins won.

Which by the way was amazing! And for some reason, the salt worked like a netti pot and I could actually smell. I think its safe to say dolphins are my new best friend! LOL!  Shhh! Don't tell Brianna.

Say "Cheese"
Here we are after our interaction with the dolphins.  This is one of the three dolphins that we worked with.  Isn't it beautiful?

Wish I could remember their names. 

Oh yes, I'm in love! Can I keep you?

Feeding the stingrays
The rays! Ok this was somewhere between really neat and very gross. For some reason even though they are fairly small compared to some other critters here they kind of freak me out. Needless to say, it took me a minute to stick my hand down in the water until it was elbow deep and allow a stingray to "suck" a fish out from between my fingers. At least with dolphins, you can just toss them into their mouths...

If these guys stick their beaks any higher in the air I think they might trip! But they are funny to watch! Funny thing is we ended up feeding the ducks instead of them because they wouldn't come close enough to feed them. But hey, the ducks were appreciative! Snooze you loose.  Mrs. Cottage said they were our favorites the last time we were here and we cried when it was time to move on.  Not so much this time, Can we go back to the dolphins?

You know how I said there were some I wouldn't want to meet in the wild? Yeah, this is one of them. They were really neat... in a creepy, nightmare waiting to happen kind of way.  For those of you, that have never been to SeaWorld.  You begin above the still water of this encounter and barely does a fin touch the waters surface. Then you descend and enter the tube that carries you under the water and you see what really lies beneath the surface.

These guys were stunning! They are so massive. They had a baby in the tank at the beginning of the show, it was so cute! I know, I know how many baby anythings aren't adorable.

This was my favorite of the two shows we saw while at SeaWorld. Ok so yes I LOVE dolphins so I may be a just a little tiny bit prejudice. Doesn't this look like fun, though?

We ended the night by heading to Mission Beach before heading back to Uncle S. and Aunt K. house. If California hadn't stolen my heart before it defiantly has now! Mr. Cottage may just have a time of it getting us back to Tennessee. Hmm... Rosine Cottage Girls By The Sea... has a nice ring to it don't you think?

Keep up with our adventures! Day 4 Day 6 (Part 1)

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