Sunday, July 29, 2012

Menu plan week of July 29-August 4

This weeks menu. Oh boy, I swear I already blogged this, last Thursday! That is until the hubby told me I hadn't blogged since Monday! I have had another very busy week.

Again this week, I'm keeping with the theme of using the oven less. It's still quite warm outside although the summer monsoons have hit which is wonderful. I do love the smell of fresh rain in the desert! My little one likes to stand under our porch and reach out into the water falling from the roof top. It's one of her favorite things to do.

I'm working on photos with the hubby's fancy camera mostly because the pictures come out so lovely but also because my little one broke my phone so no more photos from there. Baby spit kills! Any fancy camera picture suggestions are always greatly appreciated. I'm learning. :) 

Here's the menu!

Sunday: July 29 
I've finally made up my own eggless salad sandwich recipe. With the right bread or wrap it's GF! I'll be posting the recipe soon. I'm working on a blog for a friend of mine who's looking to eat more GF. I'm working on some recipes for him and his family. Lunch time friendly, some of them. This will be one of the recipes.

Monday: July 30 
Indian Summer Sucotash with baked tofu. I found this good looking recipe in Vegetarian Times. Can't wait to try it.

Tuesday: July 31
Big Ole' Salad night! Yum!!

Wednesday: August 1 
Nachos!! Ultimate Nachos! We will be making this with SmartMeat for the BK and a more of a lentil nacho filling for us. With all the toppings of course! I always make VegVeeta from Dreena Burton, goes wonderfully!

Thursday: August 2 
Chickenless wraps. Trader Joe's has an awesome "chicken" nugget that we all actually like. Makes for an easy wrap night. We will be grilling red potatoes and corn on the cob. 

Friday: August 3
No cook Friday night. What will you be having?

Saturday: August 4
Squash, Chickpea, and red lentil stew. Great thing about this fabulous stew, I can throw it in the crockpot in the morning. No need to heat up the house and it basically cooks itself! 

Cheers and happy eating!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Menu Plan: July 23 - July 28.

I have to admit, we ate out a lot last week. The hubby did make a wonderful soup on Monday night but since then it's been mostly eating food from restaurants. We don't do this often!

I was sick all week as was the little one. We both caught a virus, cold, mine turned into a sinus infection and as of right now I'm not sure what's going on with hers. I'm taking her to the doctor this afternoon to have them listen to her lungs and check her ears, poor girl.

So, eating out all the time. I must say, I don't really like it. I find I don't feel as well, even when eating healthfully, and I'm certainly not as regular! Do you find that? I know, TMI. But, it's true! I don't regulate what we eat so we lack in the fiber area. It's hard to find good vegan foods outside the home around here. We found what was simple, easy for me who had no energy to cook.

This week as we continue to recover I will be cooking again. I need this! The little one needs it! We need good nutritious food to help us feel better.

Sunday: July 22
Pizza Night! I like to throw whatever ingredients I have on had on my pizza.
Since it's already Monday here is what we ate last night.

Pizza (we cheated and bought fresh pizza dough from Sunflower Market. But, it's super easy to make your own!)
I had lot's of fresh veggies in the fridge. We grilled up some eggplant for the pizza. I marinaded for a bit in a touch of oil, salt, pepper, basil and oregano.
I covered the dough with marinara sauce (you can use anything really) then a mixture of vegetables I marinaded in a little oil, salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, and basil. Veg: broccoli, tomato, red bell pepper, artichokes, and portobello mushrooms. I topped all that with black olives. Baked at 450 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, checking often for doneness.
No cheese needed!

Yummy pizza!
Monday: July 23
Grilled veggies (mixture: squash, zucchini, peppers, corn) over a plate of pasta in a light white wine sauce. This will be my own making so I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday: July 24
Big Ole Salad night! Still loves these! Especially in the hot summer.

Wednesday: July 25
Sloppy Joe's with tater tots and green beans.  I will be making this batch of Sloppy Joe's with TVP. I've posted a recipe before for Lentil Sloppy J's, check those out too.

Thursday: July 26
Spaghetti with "meat"balls. Always a favorite with the BK. It's simple too. I often add artichokes and black olives to my sauce. Gives more depth. For the little one, I make a vegetable pasta (it's smaller and easier to eat), she loves it. We'll have salad as a side.

Friday: July 27
No cook Friday night!

What are you having for Friday night dinner?

Saturday: July 28
Grilled portobello burgers with black beans and roasted cauliflower. Cauliflower is in season right now and so versatile. I just love it!

If you've tried any of my recipes I'd love to hear your feedback! Drop me a line or comment below.  Thanks!

Cheers and happy eating!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Portobello Stack with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

I've been working on grilling more foods this summer. Cooking in the house is just way too hot! One of the foods that's super easy and super yummy to grill is portobello mushrooms.

Me and mushrooms, well, we're just now developing our friendship. Before switching to a plant-based lifestyle mushrooms rarely graced my plate. Honestly. I was no fan! But, I had my first grilled portobello mushroom burger sometime back in January and found a love I never knew. A love for mushrooms!


Fast forward to today. I still have a love for those incredibly meaty yummy portobellos but I haven't done much besides a burger or adding it to my tofu scramble. So, that got me thinking. What else can I do with this wonderfully tasty food?

Portobello Stack. Yes, it's similar to a grilled portobello burger but as the hubby put it, it's "fancy food."

Portobello Stack
Yes, I made fancy food. Isn't that fun sometimes?

One little fact I love about mushrooms is the amount of potassium in one portobello. It's more than a banana! Not sure if I've shared this before but I do not like bananas! Not one bit. It just won't happen. Any other way to get potassium is good for me!

Along with the portobello stack I made raw Cauliflower Risotto out of Eat Raw Eat Well by Doug McNish. I'm dabbling with raw foods and this one was fantastic! Loved it! The texture was surprisingly risotto like and the flavor, nutty (cashews), was superb. I do highly recommend this book to anyone looking to add raw foods to their diets.

The raw Cauliflower Risotto was excellent!
Any raw food favorites for you?

Portobello Stack with a Roasted Red Pepper Coulis


4 portobello mushroom caps
2 red bell peppers
1 medium purple onion
Vegan cheese slices, cheddar or provolone
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh tomato slices

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 large clove of garlic, pressed
salt and pepper to taste, season each portobello

Roasted Red Pepper Coulis:
3 red bell peppers
3 Tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 large clove of garlic
10-12 fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stem and black gills from the mushroom. I like to remove the black gills because they will often leach onto other cooked items.  Mix all the marinade ingredients (season each portobello with salt and pepper, add more to marinade to taste) in a large shallow bowl. Place the mushrooms in the marinade and toss to coat all sides of the mushroom. Marinade for 30 minutes tossing occasionally to ensure good marinade coverage.

As your mushrooms are marinading turn your oven to broil. Place the red bell peppers on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil. Broil all sides of the red bell peppers until blackened. You will need to watch carefully and flip the peppers frequently. This should take about 10-20 minutes. Keep a careful watch!  Once the peppers are blackened remove them from the oven and place them in a Ziploc bag to cool. Once cooled enough to handle remove the stem, seeds, and blackened skins.

Place all (except the salt and pepper) Coulis ingredients in a food processor. Process until smoothed. Season with salt and pepper to tast.

Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
Heat your grill. Once heated grill the mushrooms until heated through, about 5 minutes per side. At the same time you are grilling the mushrooms grill up the other veggies (red peppers and purple onion) by adding them to a vegetable grill pan, grill until softened and slightly blackened, about 8-10 minutes.

To assemble:
Lay a portobello down, underside facing up, add a layer of peppers, onions, tomatoes, then basil and cheese. Add some Roasted Red Pepper Coulis and top with another portobello. Enjoy with a fork, it could get a tad messy.

Simple Goodness

Cheers and happy eating!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to be vegan: A newbies perspective

Going vegan! Who's going vegan? I am? Really? Are you sure? 

Oh how I thought I was being incredibly crazy!  I thought the fact that the hubby mentioned first meant something infiltrated our water system affecting our brains!!  

It's been 6 months! 

And, now? Nope, I don't think we are crazy!  We are so very happy with our choice!


Have you thought about the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle? Does it intimidate you just a bit? It did for me, actually.  I remember the very first week we didn't eat any meat or dairy I thought I would eat the house! I was SO hungry! I'd wake up in the middle of the night starving! Famished! Ready to eat the cats as they lie sleeping on my bed! Anything! I was so hungry! 

Think about the times you eat Chinese food, within the hour you are hungry again. It's as if you didn't eat any dinner, right? That's how I felt! 

Then, I thought, what was I missing when eating a big plate of Chinese food? Protein. I was missing protein. I generally ordered a plate full of veggies in some sort of sauce over a bed of white rice. Of course I was hungry an hour later. That didn't have the amount of protein I was used to as I sat down to a big steak! 

Just like everyone else, we vegans need complete protein to get all our essential amino acids. We don't want to fall prey to the negative protein balance now do we? That's starvation and I love food so that is NOT an option.

According to the USDA, a man age 40 weighing 160 pounds needs 56 g of protein per day. A woman, weighing 140 pounds age 40 needs 46 g of protein per day. That's about 0.36 g of protein for every pound of body weight.

Protein needs to very based on age, size, health, physical activity, body weight, body type and for those pregnant or nursing.

When I speak of protein, I speak of a complete protein, all essential amino acids needed. There are some plant-based foods that carry all essential amino acids. Soy is one of them as is quinoa. It was once believed that vegetarians and vegans could possibly develop a protein deficiency if they didn't get all the essential amino acids that they needed within one meal. But, when we eat, our body stores amino acids in something like a storage bank, we use what we need when we need it. So, it's not a necessity to get all 8 amino acids in one sitting. As long as you eat a variety of foods throughout the day you will get all of the essential amino acids that you need. So, don't go eat a block of tofu. It's just gross.

Okay, so now that I have protein in my system I don't wake up wanting to eat everything in sight in the middle of the night. It took about a week and I was used to being "vegan." Ah! Much better!

What is vegan?

Vegan has so many different definitions. Some are vegan based on ethical reasons, some for environmental reasons, some for health reasons. There are vegans that combine all of them as well. It's up to you to decide what is best for you. I don't judge how vegan other people are as I only wish that people don't judge me.

Being vegan, for myself, is mostly about health. I am more aware of items that I purchase, trying to purchase cruelty free items,  but I'm not perfect. And, because I am not rich (although I wish that I were!) I still own a variety of leather shoes. Does this make me a bad vegan? To some, it may. For me, I certainly don't want to waste what I already own. But, I will be more aware next time I buy a pair of shoes.

I was definitely pretty nervous when I decided to stop eating meat and dairy. I didn't know what to do. I was trained in a French culinary school, I cooked with meat and butter, lots of it. That's when I decided to start this blog. And then I found twitter, I know, that sounds so weird, right? But really I couldn't have done it without all my awesome vegan Twitter friends.

Twitter is where I met Dreena Burton. I must say, Twitter and blogging are like high school. You want to fit in, you want to be the cool kid, and you want to be noticed. Dreena was like my high school crush, in a way. She's the cool kid and I wanted her to notice me. She was the first that gave me the advice to keep on tweeting and keep on blogging. Then, one day she followed me on twitter. I almost peed my pants. Seriously! The cool kid followed me! But, to be serious Dreena is an amazing vegan cookbook author. I ordered her book, Let Them Eat Vegan, off of Amazon and waited, patiently, for it to arrive. What I love about Dreena's book,  is the simplicity of all the recipes, they use of whole foods, and all of the real life suggestions to make things just a little bit easier. Read my view review here. Anyway, I don't think I could've been vegan very long without Let Them Eat Vegan. I thought being vegan meant lots and lots of fake meats. I am not a huge fan of fake meats! Being vegan absolutely does not mean you need to stuff your faces with the fake stuff!

I have met many supportive people on Twitter, Facebook, and around town. Support is key.

I met another friend on twitter, Janae Wise,  mother of 4, vegan, gluten-free, fitness instructor, and all around wonderful woman. She is constantly encouraging my blogging by reminding me that I am new. All bloggers have to start somewhere and I can't be perfect or the best right off the bat. She is so right. She is very encouraging and has kept me going. One day I strive to be a wonderful picture taker, blogger, and inspiration like she has shown to be herself.

Of course, I have a good friend that lives nearby that welcomes all my questions no matter how silly.  Mel Mason,  My holistic health coach, has been a saint. Without her encouragement, dedication, and willingness to listen and help without judgment I would not have made it as far as I have.

How do you go vegan or vegetarian you ask? Yes, it will take a little dedication, practice, and time. But, it is all worth it. Your heart, health, and happiness will thank you.

I am a lover of lists. I make lists for what needs to be done during the day, what I need to pack for trips, what food I'm going to make during the week, and a list of items I need to buy at the grocery store. This makes the process that much easier.

So, here are a couple of lists. What I've learned, what's in my pantry, what's in my refrigerator, and some of my favorite vegan staples and some of yours.

A couple of things that I've learned in the past 6 months:
Have support: family, friends, Twitter, Facebook
Eat plenty of protein
Enjoy your food
Have a well-stocked pantry
Plan your meals
Ask questions, of me, of  dietitians, nutritionists, healthcare providers, friends
Talk to people
Don't give up

Staples I like to keep in my pantry:
Rice, brown and white. Forbidden rice as well.
Canned tomatoes
Beans, all varieties (kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, any bean!). Dried and canned
Vegetable stock
Better than bullion vegetable base
Green chilies, Trader Joe's has the best!
Black olives
Artichoke hearts
Sun-dried tomatoes
Pitted dates
Spelt flour
Chia seeds, great information on Chia seeds found here
Raw cashews, other raw nuts and seeds
Raw sugar
Agave Nectar
Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids
Popcorn kernels

One of my favorites! Popcorn!

Vegetables and fruit I always have on hand:
Lettuce, Romain
Sugar snap peas
Purple cabbage
Lemon and limes
Onions, red and yellow
Mini bell peppers

Apples, Oranges, lemons!

Items I like to have on hand, in my fridge:
Almond milk or other plant-based milks
Hummus, different varieties
Hemp seeds
Nondairy plain yogurt
Flax seed oil
Hemp seed oil
Maple syrup
Tofu, I know tofu can be scary! But, give it a try! There are so many ways to use it and love it!

The first time you go grocery shopping it may cost you a little bit more than your usual grocery trip. But, this is just to stock your shelves with all your staples. Once you get the hang of it, shopping and cost will be easy and low. I tend to shop weekly because all that produce barely fits in my refrigerator each week. If I shopped bi-weekly there would be no way. I even created extra space, a sort of pantry, in my laundry room to make room for all the goodness I buy.

Raw Cashews

My favorite staples:
Raw cashews
Braggs Liquid Amino Acids
Carrots, celery, onion (I lump these together because they often go together in soups and such)
Hemp seeds
Chia seeds

Chia Seeds

I asked of you some of your favorite staples in your vegan kitchen:
Quinoa of course was one of them. Tofu in tempeh, kale and other leafy greens, nutritional yeast, beans, raw cashews, and flax oil.

 Do you have any others to add to my list?

I believe a good diet, is one that's not a diet at all. More of a lifestyle. You eat healthy because you want to be healthy. You are what you eat, as they say. Going vegan can be intimidating, difficult, expensive. But, as with any new thing this is only the beginning. Once you're in, you're in. Less difficult, less intimidating, and less expensive. I've been at this for 6 months and I sometimes feel like I've been doing it my whole life. I'm still learning how to cook, how to use items I've never heard of, and what substitutes I need to use for certain things. But I love the learning, the experimenting, and the vegan world that I've fallen into. Everyone has been so supportive and helpful.

Go out, give it a try, experiment, have fun with it! If you have questions drop me a line! I'd love to hear from you. I'm here to be supportive. 

Blogging, vegan, it's all new to me but I'm here to stay.

Cheers and happy eating!

Combichrist - Caliber:Death
Peter Murphy - Cuts You Up
The Faint - Fish in a Womb
Justin Timberlake - Rock Your Body
Accersory - Matrix

Monday, July 16, 2012

Breakfast for dinner

What's better, sometimes, than breakfast for dinner? I love it!

I recently discovered delicious vegan tortillas sold at our local Sprouts, La Tuana.  I picked up one package of their plain whole wheat and a package of the whole wheat, chili flavored. What do I do with tortillas? Sometimes I add a little refried pintos and daiya and toss in the microwave to warm it. Sometimes I enjoy with tofu scramble and sometimes it's breakfast for dinner!

I decided to give these tortillas a go with the family, breakfast burrito style!

There was some work to make all the items I wanted but it was well worth it!

I made some roasted red potatoes.

Roasted Red potatoes:
6-8 potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
seasonings of your choice (ex: chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano, salt and pepper)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Roast at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until slightly crisp.

I heated up, I know I cheated, some black beans and some black refried beans. Any beans would work. What's great about breakfast burritos is you can add anything you like.

I made a combination of squash, corn and peppers as well.

Squash mixture:
2 small yellow squash, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
1 ear fresh corn, cut the corn off
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1 tomato, diced
various seasonings. I used chili powder, cayenne, and oregano.
Salt and pepper to taste.

I also made up some tofu for the "eggs."

2 packages firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumpled
1-2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast, more to taste if you'd like
1/4 teaspoon black salt
2 green onions, green and white parts, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil to taste

Heat a non-stick pan. Crumple the tofu into the hot pan. Add seasonings. Heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and basil. Taste for seasoning, add more as needed.

Serve with warmed tortillas. Fresh avocado and any other condiments you like.

This makes for a simple dinner any night of the week. Add or omit anything you'd like. We love breakfast burritos around here!

What would you like in your burrito?
What is your favorite ingredient in a breakfast burrito? What is your favorite breakfast for dinner meal?

Cheers and happy eating!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Beautiful Bisbee Weekend

About a year ago the hubby and I bought a LivingSocial deal, it's like Groupon where you get daily deals in your e-mail.  It was for a 2 day trip for two to Bisbee Arizona. We finally decided to re-deem our discount and book our trip. I think we were both very excited about a mini vacation! Don't you just love getaways?!

Bisbee is 90 miles outside of Tucson, our hometown. It sits higher in elevation than that of Tucson therefore it has cooler temperatures year-round. With Tucson being over 100° this busy trip seemed like a rather cool (in every sense of the word) trip. The community of Bisbee was founded in 1880 as a mining town. In its heyday it produced gold, copper, silver, lead, and zinc all from the Mule Mountains. The beauty found in Bisbee is amazing. After about 1975 when the mines became unprofitable Bisbee evolved into an artist colony and retirement community. Local art can be found everywhere and it's awe inspiring.  As a not so creative person I often wonder how artists "see" beauty in their own minds first then create it with their hands. It's so amazing to me. I suppose one could ask how I cook, my own form of art. I see that as simple comparatively speaking.

Metal work: A fence in a front yard
 There are many different types of artists in Bisbee.  Artist shops line the streets as do galleries. You can find everything from jewelry, paintings, large-scale figurines, oddities, various types of food, as well as homes and stores decorated from the inside out.

Sam Poe Gallery Entrance
There are even places that are fully decorated on the outside that I have no idea what lies behind the front doors.

Art comes in many different varieties
 We didn't hit many museums in this small town, not this time anyway. However, I did ask to go to the Mini Museum of the Bazaar. And let me tell you it was definitely mini! This museum was created by Renee Gardner. She is formally known as a Ghost Host for the Old Bisbee Ghost tour as well as a Hearse tour. She started collecting odds and ends and when word hit the street that The Source Within would be opening the museum in their store others brought their own oddities to share.  There were several artifacts from a 2 headed squirrel, to shrunken heads, and dirt from Jim Morrison's grave site. It was definitely bizarre. Next time we'll take the Ghost Tour, it sounds like a frighteningly good time!

I don't believe it's real!
As we walked around town we realized nearly everyone is incredibly friendly. I guess in a small town if you're not friendly everyone will know. But, because it's more of a retirement community there are few young families. It's not necessarily the most kid friendly town. It was hard to find highchairs in restaurants and with so many stairs and steep hills it made it hard to let the little one run around. We did, however, find a cute little park where my little one found a friend. I know the folks of Bisbee want young families to come in so the town doesn't die down.

My little one, on the left, met a friend who was very intrigued by shoes.
 As you can see behind the fence in the picture there is even more art. It seemed a rather random place to have art and it seemed like rather random art. But, like I said art comes in all different forms, right?

It seemed as though this little girl did not encounter other young folk to often. She was very friendly!
 What I don't find in a larger city like where I'm from is trust among storekeepers or other business owners. When we got in on Friday afternoon we headed out for dinner and then for a walk. I realized I had forgotten some medication that I needed so we headed to a small nearby market (there are no chains there, no Walgreens!). As I walked up I noticed the beauty of this small garden outside the market and a woman who was tending to it. I told the woman her garden was absolutely beautiful. After her store closed, the market is hers, she was tending the garden. She asked what I needed from inside the store and promptly went in grabbed what it was I needed. We didn't have changed so she asked that we come by the next day to pay for it, how incredibly kind. I definitely don't encounter that very often. Her store was great too! Lot's of local produce. Yum!

Dinner that evening was at a restaurant named Poco. I found it by searching vegan and Bisbee on the Internet. You walk through an outdoor market to get to the restaurant. The restaurant itself is rather small but the outdoor seating is large. With such great weather all year long outdoor eating is readily available. When you walk inside the restaurant you find a chalkboard menu. I didn't get very far on the menu when I saw chimichanga. I haven't had a chimichanga since way before I became vegan and I thought I would never find one again. My chimichanga had roasted vegetables and soy chorizo. The hubby got a quinoa bowl knowing he could share it with the little one. I believe I stated in my last blog that the quinoa bowl was mine, it was so good I forgot it wasn't. This little restaurant is owned by Kelly Galligan and to be honest I didn't ask enough questions so I don't know when it opened. The two women that cooked our food are known as the Emily's. They were very kind and had a great passion for food you can tell by the smile on their faces. One of the Emily's told me that she too went vegan after watching Forks Over Knives,  a truly inspirational movie. Both dishes were excellent. The atmosphere was fantastic and artsy. The food fabulous. I wish we had more restaurants like that in Tucson.

Highly recommend this restaurant!
Quinoa Bowl
 On Saturday we woke up very early and took a long walk. Most stores there don't open until after 10 or 11, it's a slow starting town. So, we just walked and explored. We saw more artwork, beautiful homes, vibrant landscape, and many stray, yet happy, animals.

So many different flowers all over town.
 I know in Arizona we have several different art towns but this one is just beautiful.

His name is Bumper, his tag also said he is very old. He followed me for quite awhile.
 I don't believe I've ever had a cat follow me around town before. His tag said that it was magnetic, he could be let in and out anytime he wanted. I guess this means taking him home would have been a bad idea. But, he was super cute.

Beautiful graffiti can be found all over town.
Steep hills!
If you're a runner you may have heard of the 1000 Stair Climb in Bisbee. In 1990 a non-profit organization named Save our Stairs was formed and subsequently sponsors the Bisbee 1000. In Bisbee you can find a system of old and deteriorating stairways that coursed through all of the hills and valleys, allowing you to view the towns quaint houses and colorful gardens. Profits from this race go to help many unfunded health programs in the schools and for other nonprofit programs that encourage healthy living choices. 200 people joined in with the 1st annual event in October of 1991. Each year this event grows and grows. Not only does it bring the health-conscious it also attracts many who shop and eat in local stores and restaurants. I don't know that I'm brave enough to do a 5k run with so many stairs! Are you?

Part of the Save our Stairs race! Can you do it??
 Since the hubby is such a huge beer aficionado we definitely had to try the Old Bisbee Brewery Company.  The brewery was located on a hill right below our hotel. Along with our package we got 2 free beers and 2 free brats. Of course, we didn't take the brats. The beer, however, was fruity, delightful, delicious. Well, that was the beer I had anyway. The Peach-Apricot Pils. They also gave you fresh popped popcorn minus the butter, Yum! What a great way to wind down after a most enjoyable day!

Our hotel, right up the hill
 On Saturday night, the skies bellowed of thunder and let down a much needed and delightful rainstorm. What did the hubby want to do during the rainstorm? Yep, he wanted to go take pictures. Luckily, we had a friend who came down to visit and watch the little one. So, we set out, got wet, and took pictures. Bisbee at night is quiet/serene mostly because all the stores are closed. But, in parts also very loud because the bars are still open. There are many bikers in Bisbee to fill those bars.

Bisbee in the rain
 Sunday, came all too quickly. But, with another walk and more exploring it made for a wonderful day. The beauty is all around.

We found some rather fun things around Bisbee! One of my favorite shops was Va Voom! They had the coolest zombie stuff, skeleton things, and random old collector type items. I could have bought everything!

Not only did Va Voom have posters they had t-shirts as well!
The art gallery, Sam Poe Gallery, we walked through had a large shuttlecock in the window! It was a vehicle the artist drove in town! So interesting!!

See the hubby taking the picture? :) So cute!
Walking around town you are sure to find old cars too!  We also found an old VW shop that since closed. I saw more bikes than VW's in town. They must have been there at some point though. Bicycles are plentiful as well. One of the stores had the coolest name! Bisbee Bicycle Brothel!!

I cannot name this car! Can you?
I have a VW Beetle so this just makes me smile!
Did I mention there are a lot of stairs? Oh yes, I'm sure that I did. My little one was learning, all weekend, to navigate these stairs. She was up and down those that were in our hotel. She loved that we were on the second floor! She also found a few stairs outside the tap room to the brewery. While the adults decided on where to have lunch little J wanted to climb these stairs over and over again!

She had so much fun!
On our way out we finally had a chance to stop and check out the mine itself. We did not get to the tour though just saw from an observation deck. I'd love to do the tour but we'd have to do it without the little one. I fear it will only scare here. Being under ground and in the dark can be frightening. The mine which is no longer in use is gloriously vibrant!

Lavender Pit.
This mini vacation was such a well needed wonderful trip! We met some friends up there which made it all the better. Another friend came up on Saturday to hang out and help with the little one, what better friends can one have? The food was great all weekend. The shops were fun to visit. The scenery was beautiful to look at. The company was superb!

On our way back the skies filled with clouds once again lending itself to an amazing sunset!

What I love about Arizona!
What is one of your favorite mini vacations?

Cheers and happy eating!

Photos courtesy of The Hubby

Monday, July 9, 2012

Menu: July 8 – July 14

Do you ever have one of those days, you know those days where you feel behind? Today just felt like one of those days. We returned yesterday from a beautiful mini vacation to Bisbee, Arizona.  So,  this morning seemed like a good day for a slow start. Sometimes I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. I'll blog about my trip soon, the hubby is uploading pictures for me to go through now.

My little one went to school this morning and then I just lounged for a little bit knowing I needed to go grocery shopping. Once I was ready I slowly got out the door and headed to the grocery store, Trader Joe's. After Trader Joe's I always head over to Sunflower market.  I figured I had plenty of time to get the grocery shopping done, get the groceries home, and head over to pick up my little one from school. But, it is one of those slow days, right?

As I was heading over to the green beans I noticed a woman in overalls with several very large bags of green beans. Along with the green beans she had several ears of corn. I grabbed my green beans and continued on shopping, in the produce department, which is where you will normally find me. While I was grabbing organic bananas I looked over and saw the same woman, the one with all the green beans, also had several bunches of bok choy, several heads of purple cabbage, and was going through the kale like she would never find any other kale. Her cart was so full of produce I wondered what she did with all that food. As I was going through the kale myself I looked over and commented that I thought I bought a lot of produce. Annie is her name and she told me a little story.  She is a juicer. Annie has been in remission from Stage IV Esophageal Cancer for the past 11 years. She truly believes that food can heal. We sat for quite a long time chatting about food, health, and well-being. Annie started a store in Green Valley to be able to bring healthy food to the older people who are unable to get to the stores here in the larger city. Annie also started a Farmer's Market, which is held every Wednesday, and she says she's trying to grow it bigger and bigger with each passing day. Annie wants to spread the message that food can heal. This woman is a true inspiration. I told her I wanted to write about her. So, this coming Wednesday I'll head out with little J to the farmers market to discuss many things including teaching a cooking class, guest speaking, and to possibly sell some of my own goods.  I also want to get to know Annie a little better. She is very excited about the prospect of cooking classes for the folks in Green Valley. I told her I would do my best to bring my holistic nutritional coach, Mel Mason, with me because she and I will be doing the cooking classes together. I can't wait. 

It's still very very hot outside, the rain hasn't been quite enough. Summer food is still on the menu for the week.

Sunday: July 8, 2012
Since we were on vacation all we can Sunday evening will be leftovers. Whatever leftovers we have from our trip.

Monday: July 9, 2012
I had a fabulous quinoa bowl at a restaurant called Poco in Bisbee this weekend. This yummy yummy I fully intend on re-creating this yummy dinner. So, tonight's dinner will be quinoa bowl and green beans.

Quinoa Bowl from Poco, Bisbee, Arizona

Tuesday: July 10, 2012
Salad Tuesday night. Got to love a nice fresh salad in the summer. We have extra spaghetti squash that we haven't made so I think I may make one of those as well. I cheat though, I don't like to use the oven in the summer so I cook it in the microwave. It comes out fabulous!

Wednesday: July 11, 2012
Southwest chop salad. This recipe is from Happy Herbivore, sounds and looks very tasty.

Thursday: July 12, 2012
Breakfast burritos with salsa and chips. Who says you can't have breakfast for dinner?

Friday: July 13, 2012
No cook Friday night.

Saturday: July 14, 2012
Grilled pizza and corn on the cob. What better way to keep your home cool then to cook on the grill outside. I will lay out a bunch of different ingredients so we can all make our own pizza. I will even marinate artichokes, Yum!

So, my day that started out very slowly led me to meet an incredible woman. Had I gotten out of the house early this morning I may never have met Annie. I'll let you know how Wednesday goes and what wonderful adventures we end up with together.

Have you ever had a slow start today that led you to something wonderful?

Cheers and happy eating!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Menu July 1-July 7

I'm so behind this week!! I haven't blogged much at all.

I have a great excuse though! My nephews are in town. They came in last week. We've been trying to pack in as much fun as we possibly can. Why not right?  With museums to see, zoos to go to and swimming to be done who has the time to blog?  Yesterday we even went to a place filled with jumping castles.

Big ones, little ones, slides, obstacle courses, you name it this place had it! A bit overwhelming for my 15 month little one but her older brother and cousins had a blast!! Once J realized she could just run back and forth from room to room she loved it. She also loved the slides with her brother and cousin.  Indoor fun her in Arizona is a must! Unless you're in a pool.  Which we've done too! We even found time to do a puzzle! I haven't done one in years. Wow, I'm rusty!

I love spending time with my extended family!! How about you? Any family joining you for some summer fun?

The boys did a test during one of the museum tours! Who knew we could get them to do a test during the summer? Once completed they got a cool badge letting them know they had become Jr. Missileers.  How cool!

Proof they took a test!

The zoo was another day, of course we went very early! It still got very hot!

Luckily I remembered quarters so the boys could feed the ducks.
I think my little one loves the zoo, she always has. But, she just figured out she loves the gift shop more. There are stuffed animals, what's not to love?? She ended up leaving with one that day but at one point I believe she had 5 in her hands!! That's a lot of stuffed animals!

We cannot figure out whether or not that is a bobcat!
It's been a packed couple of weeks! Tomorrow is the 4th of July so we will be doing a BBQ here at our house! Possible go to the zoo again in the am just to get some running done. Fireworks that night will be late and with the little one already in bed we won't be able to go down to the mountain. But, we may be able to see some from our roof top. Should be a great day.

Here's the menu for this week, even if a little late.

Sunday: July 1, 2012
I honestly had Mac-Oh-Geez on the menu for this night but we ended up eating lunch very late in the day after going to the museum so we just munched on whatever we had instead of making a full dinner. I ate a bunch of zucchini! Yum!

Monday: July 2, 2012
Pasta with sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and black olives.  We had a side of zucchini as well. Nice light summer dish!

Tuesday: July 3, 2012
Salad night!

Wednesday: July 4, 2012
Independence Day! We are doing a BBQ. Black bean burgers, veggie burgers, cucumber salad, veggie tray, fruit salad, potato salad, chocolate moose. It will be yummy!

Thursday: July 5, 2012
Spaghetti and "meat"balls.  We haven't had this staple in awhile and I'm sure I'll be wiped out from the BBQ the day before so simple is best. I will probably make squash to go with and have salad as well.

Friday: July 6 2012
The hubby and I are heading to a cooler town, temperature wise, for the weekend. I'll blog about it later. It's sure to be a great time!

Saturday: July 7, 2012
Again in the cooler town! Yay!

Have a lovely week folks! Any 4th of July plans?

Cheers and happy eating!