My Top Ten

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

30th Birthday Tribute

I know a tribute to myself sounds pretty narcissistic, but I can get away with it on my birthday perhaps?
This blogpost is in honor of my 30th Birthday, which happens to be today. The day that Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon - yay for America! The only thing I love more than fine food is traveling & outdoor adventures. So I thought I'd share some pictures of enjoyable adventures in my lifetime thus far. I know there are many, many more grand adventures awaiting me. I plan to find them, don't you worry!
They are in no particular order:

Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida - Spring 1997
(I was a sophomore in high school here!)

Merida Yucatan, Mexico - 2005
(unfortunately we did not ride this scooter; long story.)

Veracruz, Mexico -  2005

Snowshoeing the Continental Divide - Winter 2009

Bodhi in belly at Moab, Utah - Fall 2007

Hotel Del Coronado; San Diego, California 2007
(this was a Babymoon unbeknowst to us!)

2006 Christmas Eve boating adventure! St. Louis, Missouri

The day I felt like a Princess - Summer 2003
Shove Chapel @ Colorado College, Colorado Springs

Baby Bodhi at the Great Sand Dunes, Colorado - Spring 2008

Torrey Pines State Reserve; California - Summer 2010

La Jolla, California - Summer 2011

Backpacking the Wimenuche Wilderness - Fall 2009

NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida - Summer 2008
(this trip was in celebration of our 5th year of marriage!)

John Deere Pavilion; Moline, Illinois - Fall 2008

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1- breathtaking drive

Monterey, California  - Fall 2008

Las Vegas, Nevada - Fall 2008

Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska - Fall 2008

Montana Countryside 4th of July - 2009

Austin, Texas - Summer 2011

Kayaking in the British Virgin Islands - 2004

Grand Canyon - Spring 2009

Friday, July 15, 2011

Honey Coconut Granola Goodness

I wanted to title this blogpost: granola-SO-easy-I-can't-belive-I-haven't-made-it-from-scratch-before, but that's a bit long so I went with the description above for this delicious wholesome homemade granola. As soon as this granola was cool enough to touch, we were chowing down. We ate granola & yogurt for dinner last night, we just couldn't stop. The true foodie test for me is always in the next day. Does it still taste just as good or were we just super hungry? I am happy to report, that is was better than I remembered. I can easily see this healthy, golden goodness turning into an everyday kind of staple in our home.

There are a myriad of variations; you could easily subsitute other cooking oils, use a different sweetener, remove the dried coconut and add in some other kind of dried fruit (which you don't want to bake - stir it in after the final cooking process & before oats cool). All of the ingredients I used were enhanced by the roasting process, and I think it was the perfect combination.

What you need:
2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dried, shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon Earth balance butter (or regular butter, I just prefer the taste of EB & they guarantee non-GMO ingredients. Hurray!)
3 Tablespoons honey

What you do:
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

In a 9X13 *well greased (*important!) pan, roast rolled oats with the cinnamon. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. The cinnamon will become very aromatic so you know the full flavor is developing.
Remove your roasted cinnamon oats. Add the rest of the ingredients directly to your pan. Stir after each addition to ensure even coating. If the honey or butter is slightly lumpy, it's alright, it will cook down as it bakes into the granola. Put the oats n' goodness back into your hot oven and bake for 30 minutes until the oats are golden in color. Stir often to allow for even cooking.

Let cool and break apart. Store in airtight container, up to 2 weeks. Seriously? I don't know why I am telling you this, it won't last that long.

Sidenote: most recipes say to cook granola on a cookie sheet, which would make it cook faster and be easier to break apart once cooled. But my granola is made directly in the baking pan, eliminating the need to dirty a bowl. How much more lazy, err, I mean efficient can I be than that?!? Also, it allows for larger clumps of granola goodness. We are clumpy kinda granola lovers around here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Garrett and I's dream vacation is to tour Europe on a foodcation. What is a foodcation? It's a vacation where the main focal point is traveling around enjoying fine wine & gourmet food; organic food, local food, food that is art. Do you get what I am saying here?  We are food snobs. We love to eat, but have developed a palate for exquisite food.  While our dream Foodcation will require some saving and will take place in the future, we recently experienced a delightfully refreshing three course meal at an Italian restaurant on Coronado Island where we were vacationing. The restaurant, Il Fornaio, is mainly located throughout California, but there are restaurants located in Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas and Reston, Virginia as well. I was surprised to learn that it was a chain restaurant, because it didn't have a chain restaurant type of feeling. Many menu selections were made with free-frange chicken, natural meats, and organic & local produce. Our waiter was the epitome of the Italian culture; with his thick accent, boisterous laugh, rapid talking, and finger whipping. You know, the Italian culture gesture of finger whipping or snapping when something is thoroughly amusing or a hot topic. This is about the time when us 21st century Americans would say something along the lines of "Oh, snap" or "Hot diggity dog" (yes, I did just pull out a hot diggity dog). His name was Mossimo. It was perfect. We enjoyed a deep, robust Peppoli Chianti Classico and a glorious Spinach salad, several main courses which were passed around to share & taste, and 5 different desserts. Everything I ate was like a party in my mouth. Such a fun night with family. Sorry, there are no photos of the food. I was too busy eating and enjoying!