Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Music Mondays: Here It Is

Instead of featuring an artist this week, I'd like to share a playlist I recently made. There are certain songs that are just always good and listening to them makes life feel right. These are some of those songs for me. Most of them are oldies and I could probably add a few more modern songs, but I wanted it to be classic and I know I will always love these songs.

Listen to Here It Is on Spotify (Disclaimer: The Beatles are not available on Spotify, so the Beatles track is actually a pretty good cover band)

Here It Is

Sweet Caroline // Neil Diamond
These Eyes // The Guess Who
The Times They Are A-Changin' // Bob Dylan
Blowin' In The Wind // Joan Baez
The Boxer // Simon & Garfunkel
Make You Feel My Love // Adele
Fire and Rain // James Taylor
Falling Slowly // Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Free Fallin' // Tom Petty
Redemption Song // Bob Marley & The Wailers
With or Without You // U2
In My Life // The Beatles
Imagine // John Lennon
She's Always A Woman To Me // Billy Joel
Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon // Neil Diamond
Annie's Song // John Denver

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


It's been since September since I was last in a Cessna airplane with my husband as the pilot, so I was thrilled when the skies were clear and we both had the day off this past Friday. We flew out of Paine Field in Everett, Washington and flew the 40-minute flight to Bellingham International Airport.

I'm so blessed to have a good camera now, but find myself frustrated with the limitations of only having one lens (50mm/1.8) when it comes to shooting landscapes and aerial photos. One day I'll save up for a lens better suited for these types of shoots. For the time being, I'll make do.

The flight there was beautiful with the sun reflecting off the water surrounding the San Juan Islands to our left and Mt. Baker and the Cascades a stark white against the blue sky to our right. Unfortunately, the photos of the mountains that I got weren't that great so I'm not going to share them.

We stopped in Bellingham and borrowed the crew car from the FBO (fixed base operator) there and drove into downtown to have a scoop each of Mallard's ice cream. Whiskey Fig for Luke and Cardamom for me. 

Our flight home was unbelievable. The sun was setting and I was able to capture some great shots. 

I love this part of the country so much. The combination of mountains in every direction, water and islands is so breathtaking. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Music Mondays: The Belle Brigade

Around a year ago, Luke and I got tickets to go see two bands that we love (Dawes and Blitzen Trapper) at the Neptune here in Seattle. The opening act was The Belle Brigade and they were perfectly in line with the great music that was to follow. I started listening to their album the next day and haven't stopped since. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Music Mondays

I first heard Kat Edmonson on NPR's "Tiny Desk Concerts" months ago and today her album is playing on repeat on my Spotify. Her whimsical sound is the perfect soundtrack to fill a morning of household chores with happiness.

Somehow Edmonson captures the perfect amount of 1960s pop and Ella Fitzgerald style jazz all while presenting it in a fresh way that is all hers.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Burrito Bowls

As promised, here is my recipe for burrito bowls. This has been a staple for Luke and I ever since early on in our dating relationship--that is to say, we've been eating this very regularly for the past 4 years and we still love it. So much so that we keep half gallon containers of rice and dry black beans in our pantry and almost always have the rest of the ingredients on hand. Keep in mind that there is lots of room for improvising with this recipe, especially if, for example, you don't like cilantro or you like things spicier than we do (our version of this meal is very mild). Feel free to leave out or add ingredients to taste.

Burrito Bowls


2 Chicken Breasts (optional--leave out if you want a vegetarian meal)
2-3 Cups of cooked brown rice (3/4-1 Cup uncooked) -- I often do half rice and half quinoa.
1 Can of Black Beans (or 1 Cup of dried black beans)
2 Red Onions
1 Bell Pepper
Shredded Mexican or Pepper Jack Cheese
Sour Cream
Partial bunch of Cilantro
1 large or 2 small Avocados
Ground Cumin
Ground Chili Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
Lime Juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Peel the onions and seed the pepper and then slice them all into thin slivers. Mix together with 2 TBSP Olive Oil in a bowl, making sure the veggies are evenly coated with oil. Place a large pan over medium heat and pour the veggies into the pan. Let them saute on medium heat, stirring regularly, until they start to soften and brown. If you feel like the veggies are starting to blacken or cook too quickly, that's when it is time to turn down the heat. The veggies are one of the most important ingredients to this meal, and you want to cook them down until they are super cooked and caramelized in their own juices. In order to be perfect, they should take an hour or more to cook, so if they are getting done faster than that, you are probably cooking them too fast. **Note: Before healthy eating was a high priority of mine, I used to use plenty of butter and a little brown sugar to caramelize the veggies. I'm not going to lie to you, it is delicious. But thankfully the natural sugars in the onions and peppers come out during this cooking process and are quite good themselves.**

In a small bowl, mix together 1 1/2 tsp Chili Powder, 1 tsp ground Cumin and salt and pepper to taste.

Pound the two chicken breasts until they are only 1/2 inch thick, then cut them into cubes. Put the cubes in a small bowl and mix in the Chili Powder, Cumin and Salt and Pepper, plus 2 TBSP Olive Oil and 2 TBSP Lime Juice. Mix together well and allow to marinate for 30 minutes-1 hour while the veggies cook (if you don't have time to marinate, it's fine to cook them right away).

During this time, cook your rice (according to package directions) and heat your beans. I love to cook my dried beans in a Crock Pot all day, seasoned with smoked paprika, chili powder, ground cumin and salt.

While everything is cooking, dice the avocados.

Cook chicken in a pan until cooked through and most of the juices have evaporated (but not until dry).

When the rice is cooked, squeeze small amount (1-2 tsp) of lime juice over it and add 2 TBSP of chopped cilantro leaves. Mix together.

When everything is ready, layer rice, beans, chicken, veggies, cheese, sour cream and avocados. It can also be great to add some pico de gallo and or corn. As we are trying to be more healthy, we are limiting the amount of sour cream and cheese that we use, but sometimes it's too hard to leave it off entirely.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Week of Recipes

Eating healthy and tasty meals can really be a challenge. I just spent the past hour+ scouring the internet via Pinterest and a collection of my favorite blogs to try and put together a meal plan for us this week. I have my own go-to recipes that I regularly make, but no matter how yummy they are, they can get boring, so I am always trying to find new ideas for dinners.

I realize many of you are probably facing the same dilemma, and you may struggle to find the time to search for new recipes, so I'm thinking about sharing my weekly meal plan on this blog each weekend--as long as I manage to be organized enough to make it myself! Be forewarned--Luke and I love Mexican food, so there will usually be plenty of that.

A week of meals: 1.27.13-2.2.13

Sunday night: Burrito Bowls. This is a tried and true favorite, my own recipe. I promise I'll post it soon, but until then, here is a link to one I found that looks tasty.

Photo from The Shiksa in the Kitchen blog (theshiksa.com)

Photo from Healthy. Happy. Life. Blog (http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/)

Tuesday Night: We always do meals with our church Life Group on Tuesdays, so you are on your own here.

Wednesday Night: Butternut Squash Croquettes and Boiled Asparagus

Photo from Love and Lemons Blog (loveandlemons.com)

Thursday Night: Mexican Haystacks

Photo from Whole and Free Blog (http://wholeandfree.blogspot.com/)

Photo from Pure Goodness Blog (puregoodness.net)

Photo from Fifteen Spatulas Blog (fifteenspatulas.com)

I hope these recipe ideas serve as a resource and inspiration to anyone who is pursuing, alongside us, the goal of living a healthier life.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mango Salsa

I recently came across a recipe for a peach salsa tostada on a blog I really like and made plans to make it for dinner tonight. Unfortunately, peaches could not be obtained at my local grocer, so I decided to change things up a bit and create my own salsa with mangos as the base. I was really pleased with the results so I wanted to share it.

Mango Salsa

Serves 1-2 people. Double ingredients to serve more.


1 lime
pinch of coarse sea salt
1 mango
1/4 cup diced red onion
bunch of fresh cilantro


Squeeze the juice from the entire lime into a bowl and add a small amount of lime zest (too much will make your salsa bitter).
Peel and coarsely chop the mango (be aware of the pit and slice of the juicy fruit from around it).
Finely chop enough fresh cilantro to measure about 2-3 tablespoons.
Add the onion to the lime juice and stir together, then add the mango, cilantro and sea salt (to taste).
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.
Salsa can be served immediately, but tastes even better if you allow it to marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.