Blog, Travel Blog

#traveltuesday: The Florida Keys

It’s the middle of December, we’re inching closer to the winter solstice, the days are short as hell, and I bet some of us are even dreaming about, planning, or executing sunny vacations to warm places with tropical drinks in our hands. I know the shorter days have got me a bit down, but the solstice will turn that all around as the days start to get longer. When this happens sometimes I do reflect on the years I spent my winters in the Florida Keys, one of the places where I laid the groundwork for some of what I do now — nannying and dog sitting, as well as the true beginning of my luxury customer service career.

Don’t get me wrong.. I played a lot too, in the sun and sand, in the waves — on kayaks and motor boats and pool floats and everything in between. All those activities are sure to leave one feeling hungry and I thought I would share this list of some of the best places to eat throughout the Keys. I personally lived less than a mile from Marker 88 and can’t speak highly enough of the lively atmosphere and serene setting on the bay that meld together for the perfect afternoon of drinks on the water, or evening out to dinner with friends.

Snorkel with local wildlife if you’re driving through!

If you have plans to travel to the Florida Keys, or are just dreaming about them to get you through the winter, check out this list of the top restaurants on the southern-most 100 mile stretch of US1.

Where do you dream about traveling to when your surroundings (the weather or the atmosphere or the lack of sunlight) have got you down?

Blog, Household Blog, Recipes

Thai Sweet Potato Soup

This week my food inspiration came from the New York Times. I’m an avid fan of the publication, particularly their puzzles, and while I’ve seen their recipes from time to time on Facebook I have never made one. While that still remains true — I have never tried a recipe recommended by the NY Times — I definitely gathered some good intel from them this week. The original recipe I looked at was for this Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Soup, however I have a stipulation that if I make something in the crockpot it should be a full meal. I’m cooking for myself, and to have a whole crockpot full of soup 20181112_103315.jpgbut to still need a sandwich or something on the side seems silly; a crockpot full of soup can easily feed me for four nights so instead of making this soup I took the thai/crockpot/sweet potato inspiration and headed in the direction of a more hearty soup that would be a full meal in a bowl.

What I came up with was this Thai Sweet Potato Soup, which left everything in chunks and added in more veggies to round things out for a more filling soup. I chose to add 20181112_103016.jpgmushrooms the the recipe also, because they’re delicious and why not? I did add those at the end so they would just cook a bit, not get soggy cooking over the course of a full day.

I have to be honest about this one — while it was tasty and filling it wasn’t as delicious as my soup last week, nor was it quite as tasty as I was hoping for. It was, however, warm and filling, and paired with an egg-roll on the side it was nourishing and got the job done.

In our household growing up we would say a recipe was “company food” if we really like a meal — meaning that the food was good enough to

20181112_194203.jpg
It sure looked like company food..

serve to friends at one of my parents many dinner parties growing up. Things on the list include cold sesame peanut noodles, artichoke chicken, my dad’s famous spaghetti sauce, among others. I would most definitely not qualify this soup as company food. It wouldn’t be bad for a family of four to finish up in a night or two, but it certainly wasn’t worth eating four days in a row. I did end up freezing half as I got called unexpectedly out of town this week, so I imagine by the time I eat it again it’ll be plenty tasty to enjoy for two more nights.

 

I’ll be back next week with some tips on how to re-purpose your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. Until then, I’m wishing you a very happy holiday for you and yours, may your week, and your year, be filled with thanks, gratitude, peace and love. ❤

 

Blog, Household Blog, Recipes

Quinoa with Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette

I love to cook but it takes up SO MUCH time. According to the Netflix show Cooked, Americans currently spend only 27 minutes per day preparing food, down from nearly an hour when our parents were growing up, and as the show also points out, those of us who don’t devote time to cooking lose out on developing flavors in our veggies, meats and stocks.

If I’m honest, even during a good, healthy week of cooking at home, I still might not average 27 minutes of cooking time per day in the kitchen. It’s difficult to find the time to cook around my collaborative efforts with families, my steady jobs and what little gym and recreation time I manage to fit in around my very busy schedule.

Despite the lack of time in my life, I not only love to cook but I love to eat food. It’s probably my first favorite activity in life; going out for or cooking and savoring a delicious meal is truly one of the finest pleasures in life, and I try to find ways to incorporate tasty flavors every day. Some days that means something frozen dipped in ranch (don’t judge!) but these days I’m going for healthier and more wholesome flavors that anyone can cook, and I want to share those ideas with you!

Join me every Friday for the release of a delicious new recipe that’s full of fresh flavors that you can get on your weekly run to the grocery store over the weekend, to prepare a fresh and easy meal that might even leave you with some tasty leftovers to pack for lunch on Monday.

Fotoram.io (7)Today I want to start with a very easy recipe that I’ve made multiple times with multiple different proteins: Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

I can’t speak highly enough of this recipe. I have made it separately with poached salmon, baked chicken and roasted veggies as a protein on top. The quinoa is earthy, the arugula is peppery and the lemon vinaigrette is oh-so bright. The three main ingredients are also great to keep around the house for throwing together a quick salad any time. Arugula and quinoa come in large quantities, so save the rest for throwing together another meal if you don’t want to mix everything together at once. However — my mom swears by quinoa that’s been soaking in the delicious dressing overnight. The dressing really tones down those earthy flavors to make a delightful leftover lunch.

Happy cooking and I’ll be back next Friday with another piece of love — I mean recipe — to share with you!