the great debate

what color wins the title of describing a tennis ball? yellow or green?  little of both?


inspired again.

i don’t know why my hiatus has been so long from writing but i am confidently inspired again to start sharing my endeavors!  maybe it was a new job change, maybe i was adjusting to life in seattle and realization set in that my close friends and family are actually much farther away when the daily happenings rarely include them anymore.  the newer friends i have made are just as amazing which i am so thankful for but no matter how great and exciting change can be, i will always be tied to my roots in the midwest.

that being said, i thought i would kick off my current weekend happenings with sharing a big happy birthday to brian’s mom, judy!  nobody loves a surprise more than i do, so when all of brian’s family decided to fly back to sacramento to surprise her, i couldn’t miss out on the chance to see the look on her face when all of her kids come through the doors.

waiting to be let in the house ready for the surprise….

enjoying having all her children back!

loving that california sun

filled with lots of cooking, laughing, and quality family time…to my family, i miss you dearly and can’t wait to get together soon!  cheers to summers and spending time with those you love!


one special lady

happy birthday to the most amazing, caring, strong, chocolate loving woman i know, my mother.

love you mom, i am so lucky to have you in my life!

talapus lake snowshoe

about 2 miles from the talapus lake trail head on road 9031talapus lake snowshoe trail












brian and i took on talapus lake trail via snowshoes yesterday and had a blast!  the trail turned out to be the perfect mix of difficulty and aspen beauty with very few people–i think we ran into 5 total.  i felt like i was in a winter wonderland village with the little bridge crossings over the creeks that twist and turn all the way up to the lake.  double bonus: we were snowed on the entire time!

pad thai salad

in the mood for a delicious pad thai but want it a tad healthier?  make it into a salad!  in light of drinking a few vodka/soda waters i decided that i should have a healthier version to help balance the “nutrients.”  thus, came my inspiration for this delicious dinner.  in my opinion,  the best part of this dish is the fresh chunky peanut sauce…mmm!

fresh greens
one chicken breast diced
cooked rice noodles
sliced mushrooms
sugar snap peas
sliced red pepper
4 minced garlic cloves
bunch of fresh cilantro chopped
sliced green onions
salt and pepper to taste

thai peanut sauce
3 tbsp chunky peanut butter
2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sriacha sauce
1 tbsp honey

saute chicken and garlic together with one tablespoon of sesame oil until fully cooked over medium-low heat.  next, remove chicken from pan and then add mushrooms, red peppers, and snow peas.  cook through for about 10 minutes on same heat.

add chicken and cooked rice noodles back in with the veggies and add the thai peanut sauce.  stir together until everything is fully coated.  next, fold in the green onions and cilantro.  if you want the sauce a bit thinner add a few tablespoons of water or chicken stock.

mix together the fresh greens and cabbage into a bowl.  place the pad thai mixture on top of the greens and garnish with fresh cilantro and shredded carrots.  i always enjoy stirring it all together with chopsticks, however, you can eat the deliciousness any way you like.

warm spinach salad with hot bacon dressing

the ultimate winter salad.  it’s warm, it’s semi healthy, and most importantly delicious.  i have to admit,  i wasn’t completely sold on trying to make a warm spinach salad because most of the recipes i found seemed so plain and boring.  brian was “seeing the vision” for this salad and said if i committed to making the dressing portion he would take care of rest.  easy enough in my mind.  he deserves the credit for this one.  the snow peas, pecans, and blue cheese additions were genius–thanks b!

snow peas
red onion
blue cheese
hard boiled egg
hot bacon dressing
2 tbsp bacon fat
3.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar

sautee mushrooms and snow peas together in 1 tbsp bacon fat for 5-10 min on medium low heat.  you want the peas to be a vibrant green and still have a little crunch to them.  add 1 tsp balsamic vinegar in with veggies and let coat, remove from heat.

hot bacon dressing: in the same pan you cook the bacon, keep around 2 tbsp of bacon fat in the pan.  over low-medium heat, add the red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and sugar.  stir together and reduce heat to low.

in a large bowl, add spinach and the rest of the ingredients together.  drizzle dressing over top and stir together to make sure everything is coated nicely.  garnish salad with egg on top.

heytell-because hearing the voice never goes out of style

why is this one of my favorite apps?  it allows me to send personalized, short, voice messages instantly to my friends phones without having to call or text.  hold down the button and send your message over.  why do i like this?  when schedules are tough, i can talk to my family & friends all over the country/world without having to hope they are available when i am.  the only trick is that each person has to have this app in order for it to work.  hint, hint- friends!  great for travelers and for those times when you just want to hear someone’s voice.