October 31, 2011

halloween sunrise

Happy Halloween!  This is the sunrise this morning from our back deck, what a treat!  Its probably the only treat I should enjoy after my weekend of stuffing my face with mini 100 grand bars and bite size milky ways (my favorite).  Hubs and I dressed up for Halloween and gave out candy at the trunk or treat at our church.  My dog Peanut and I were Bee's, what...its totally normal for a grown woman to dress in the same outfit as her dog, right?  Don't judge me.  Hubs costume was much more unique, he decided to go as our very own Pastor Bill which required him to shave the top of his head bald, sport some reading glasses and walked around eating candy talking to everyone.  Thankfully, Pastor Bill enjoyed the Hubs creativity. 

Speaking of Hubs, its his birthday today.  Happy Birthday to the love of my life, I am so very blessed to be share my life with you.  Cheers to many more birthdays celebrated together.  PS.  Peanut says happy birthday and he would like a treat in your honor.

October 20, 2011

grilled shrimp tacos with roasted cabbage

Roasted cabbage is a staple in our house.  My mom is actually the one who suggested I roast a batch.  When my mother recommends a recipe, I have to try it; my mother is one of the most talented, creative people I know, but the lady doesn’t like to cook and makes no qualms about it. The fact that she recommended this to me meant I just had to do what she said and it turned out that we now eat this at least once a week as a side and I mix it into all kinds of recipes, including this one for shrimp tacos.  Most shrimp tacos have some kind of crunchy cabbage slaw, I figured crispy roasted cabbage would be just as good if not better.  Hubby says these are his favorite tacos now and requested I make them twice in one week.

shrimp tacos with roasted cabbage

1 lb or package of frozen large peeled & devined shrimp (I have limited fresh seafood options so I use frozen)
3 tablespoons seafood seasoning dry rub (I used Tom Douglas Seafood rub)
4-6 bamboo skewers, soaked in water before grilling
1 small head purple cabbage (or regular)
1 medium onion, sautéed
Goat cheese crumbles or queso fresco (I only had goat cheese on hand but the queso is awesome with these)
1 container greek yogurt (optional)
4-5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
Corn or flour tortillas
Pinch salt & pepper
Sriracho hot chili sauce (optional)

Here’s what you do:
*I found that prepping much of the ingredients even a day ahead of time made this for an easy and quick meal despite the lengthy looking process below.

Heat oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking pan with olive oil to prevent sticking.

For the cabbage:
Chop cabbage in half, laying center flat on cutting board, slice into thin strips, and lay out evenly on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 15-25 minutes, flipping each piece half way through roasting.  (I prefer mine crunchier and usually leave it in 25 minutes until the edges brown).  Set aside after cooked.

For onion:
Chop onion into thin slices and sauté on low-medium with olive oil or a pat of butter (butter substitute) on stove top for 20 minutes or longer if you want to reduce them down over low heat.  Set aside after cooked.

For the shrimp:
Take the tails off your shrimp (I prefer it this way but you could leave them on), soak your bamboo skewers in water for a few minutes before using them.  Skewer your shrimp onto the bamboo skewers, sprinkle with rub on both sides.  Fire up your grill, either charcoal or gas and cook 3 minutes on each side.  Set aside after cooked.

Now that all your ingredients are roasted, sautéed and grilled, you can begin the fun part – assembly!  Warm your tortillas on a griddle/pan or wrapped in a damp paper towel in the microwave for a few seconds if using corn tortillas.  Layer with a tablespoon of greek yogurt (in place of sour cream), grilled shrimp, onions, sprinkle of bacon crumbs, cabbage and goat cheese.  Top with Sriracha and enjoy!  

October 19, 2011


It’s been settled.  The hubs and I are moving to Chattanooga…someday.  We went to celebrate our friends wedding and discovered that we both adore this little gem of a city.  Chattanooga offers up everything we love, plenty of outdoor activity from running spaces, kayaking and biking, water views, and loads of eateries, art, shopping and tucked away neighborhoods to explore. If we could, I think we’d pack up tomorrow and move. 

For now we’ll just enjoy planning another weekend getaway in the near future. We arrived on Friday evening and took a stroll downtown, with time to kill before dinner we headed over to The Meeting  Place for appetizers and cocktails. Two words here...duck wings.  Probably the best appetizer me or the hubs have ever enjoyed, they were so good we ordered a second plate after slamming down the first round in 2 minutes flat.  They were crispy without being greasy, the flavor of the meat was subtle and the spicy sauce on them made you crave more.  Ah-maz-ing.  

After a couple of beverages, we walked a few blocks over to Alleia for dinner.  Alleia is housed in an old building with brick walls, huge expansive ceilings and concrete floors.  I liked how they took an industrial space and warmed it up with natural elements.  Huge wooden lamp shades hanging over the communal table, reclaimed wood tables, candle wax dripping display.  It was warm and cozy, we each had a glass of pinot noir and shared muscles, pear salad and a pizza.  Full and happy we walked back to the hotel to meet our friends for catching up.

Saturday morning was a perfect fall day, we started with coffee and then later went out for a run.  We may just be oddballs but every city we go to we like to run the neighborhoods, get some exercise and check out the city from another perspective. Then it was up to Signal Mountain to take in the view, up on the mountain we found a festival and stopped to check out the offerings.  I found this miniature planted landscape (pictured above) and fell in love with it.  The fruit and veggie displays were calling my name as well.  Later we headed to Urban Stack Burger for lunch, hubby had a meaty burger of sorts and I had a homemade veggie burger with pickled beets, both were delish.  We sat outside and enjoyed the cool air before heading to the wedding for more fun and finally at 2am we called it a night.  Wish we could have stayed longer!

October 7, 2011

road trip

Oh happy day, its Friday! We’re road tripping this afternoon and Peanut is assuming his usual pre-road trip position in the front entry of our house.  He plops down on the floor to take in the hubs and I scurrying back and forth from the house to the car, packing, organizing and trying to make sure we have everything we need, which by the way, we never do.  We always forget something.  

 Is it just me or does he look slightly bored by us?

We're off to beautiful Chattanooga to celebrate the marriage of our friends from Jackson, Wyoming.  Nooga-bound!

Happy Weekend.

October 5, 2011

zucchini pineapple quick bread (gluten free & vegan)

My grandma makes the best quick breads on the West Coast, it’s the truth, and she doesn’t measure or follow a recipe.  The woman has talent, she’s 85 and been making the same recipes for so many years that she can just whip up a batch of bread while giving you the overview of her latest world travel, last year it was touring Turkey for a month. 

There are days when I crave a thick slab of her pumpkin date bread and a cup of coffee in her kitchen.  I started thinking about that bread and it got stuck in my head, being that we live across the country from each other right now and my pantry had no pumpkin or dates in it this week, I decided to make the next best thing which in this case meant zucchini pineapple bread.  Pumpkin date bread, I will make you soon!

Don’t tell grams but I used a mix for the bread, I had a package of The Cravings Place Quick Bread in the cupboard and to be honest I am short on time this week.  Every night this week is packed full.  I grabbed the package for the bread, surveyed the pantry and the zucchini and pineapple were starring me in the face.  They practically told me they were going to be in the bread and I am so glad I listened.  This bread, while not my grandmas was delicious.  In fact, it was so good; I ate two slices of it standing up in my own kitchen before I realized I hadn’t even fixed my coffee. 

Zucchini Pineapple Quick Bread (gluten free & vegan)

1 package The Cravings Place Quick Break & Muffin Mix (not presweetened)
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or sweetened if you like)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 can unsweetened crushed pineapple + juice from the can
1 ¼ cups agave
1 cup water
2 tablespoons raw turbinado sugar (optional)

Here’s what you do:

Heat oven to 375 degrees and prepare 2 baking pans 9 x 5 x 3 with gluten-free cooking spray

In large bowl combine dry mix, 1/3 cup applesauce, 1/4 cup oil, 1 can crushed pineapple, 2 cups zucchini, 1 ¼ cup agave, 1 cup water, stir until thoroughly mixed.  Pour into prepared pans.  Sprinkle with raw turninado sugar (optional).

Bake for 60 minutes, the top will be golden brown, cool on wire wrack for 10 minutes before removing from the pan, leave on wire rack for at least one hour after out of the pan.  This bread is easiest to slice when completely cooled. 

Serve it up with a pat of Earth Balance butter substitute (or butter) and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite baked goodie from your grandma?

October 3, 2011

dark chocolate cherry no bake cookies (gluten free & vegan)

Want a chocotastic (yes, that's a word) treat?  Then whip up a batch of these babies, vegan, gluten free and packed with stuff that is good for you - hello dark chocolate and antioxidant rich cherries.  I found the inspiration for this recipe from these Banana No Bake Cookies by the lovely gal at Back to Her Roots 


Saturday my hubs and I woke to a brilliantly cool fall morning.  This is a big deal around these parts, cool weather has not been felt since last April, or was it March?  The South takes its heat quite seriously; it was a perfect morning to run in the Mogadishu Mile Memorial Race.  The race honors the 6 fallen soldiers of that tragic day 18 years ago and helps raise funds for the Ranger Assistance Foundation (a wonderful non-profit organization dedicated to supporting our wounded Rangers and the families of those soldiers that have made the ultimate sacrifice).   All that running and good fellowship with our Ranger family made me want a sweet chocolate treat in the afternoon so out came the dark chocolate cherry no bake cookies.  Easy to make and even easier to devour! 


Dark Chocolate Cherry No Bake Cookies

Inspired by Back To Her Roots
Makes 18 large cookies


  • 2 medium bananas, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup soy-free, dairy-free dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sunbutter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups rolled gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine banana chunks, chocolate chips, sunbutter, cocoa power, non-dairy milk and salt. Heat for 2-3 minutes or until just beginning to bubble.
  2. Using a fork, mash the bananas in chocolate mixture until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add in vanilla, almond extract and dried cherries.
  3. Stir in oats until well-coated.
  4. Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper and let cool. Chill in fridge or freezer for a more solid cookie (I stored mine in the fridge for a cool fudge cookie treat, perfect with a glass of almond /milk). 
Me and my Ranger in all our sweaty glory after the race

Mog Mile Oct 1 2011

Mog Mile Oct 1 2011
Our buddy Sgt. Johnson leading his men