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Joshua Tree National Park

April’s been a crazy month! From taking my Civil PE Surveying test to running in Ragnar So Cal, I’ve been busy busy!  When I realized I had a free weekend, we took advantage & got out of civilization!  Sometimes your body needs a break from the hustle & bustle & needs some solitude.

Friday night we headed to Joshua Tree National Park. It’s in the desert near Palm Springs.  When you think about it, it’s kind of a weird place.  There are these huge cacti trees (Joshua Trees) in odd shapes & huge piles of rocks everywhere.  How did this place form?

It fit the bill for our weekend trip.  We opted for backcountry camping because we didn’t need camping reservations & we knew we would not be near any loud boy scout troops!

In order to camp in the backcountry in Joshua Tree, you have to fill out a form at a backcountry board in the park giving your license plate information so if they come across your car they know it’s you.  When picking a place to camp, I think the rules say you are to be 1 mile from the road.  We never end up that far, as long as you are not seen from the road we think it is fine.   The negatives to backcountry camping are no fires & no bathrooms.  This means bringing a shovel & digging holes if need be..  The no fire rule is almost a deal breaker for me.  I think every camping trip should have a good campfire but for quiet & solitude, we had to sacrifice campfires.  There’s always another camping trip to come!

Spring was blossoming in Joshua Tree.  It was beautiful.

Saturday we decided to hike the hill you see in the picture below.  It is actually a dormant volcano!

It did get pretty steep at the top and required hands & feet to navigate!  You can kind of see the slope in the picture below with Leslie!

Todd decided it was a good idea to scale a steep face of rocks at the top.  It was fun but scary!

I don’t think these photos do it justice! The view from the top was pretty awesome. Those large piles of rocks don’t look so large anymore.

At the top was a message can hidden in the rocks.

We added our mark to the tablet inside the can.

Besides our hike the rest of our trip was spent playing hearts.. enjoying the scenery.. talking..eating some delicious food..

Kebobs from Dave & Leslie!

The marinade they used was soo good!  Love kebobs.

I made a Meyer Lemon Grain Salad with asparagus, almonds & goat cheese.  It was light & refreshing.  A  great side dish for this meal.  The original recipe site has some much more appetizing photos! Go check it out!

We also spent some time with good old Jack Daniels.  I opted to mix him with hot chocolate to kill two birds with one stone!  It kept me nice & toasty until the wind started picking up!  That wind was unpredictable..

Dessert was Ashley’s chocolate chewies. They were crunchy on the outside & chewy on the inside!  Soo good! I made the coconut version and though Todd’s not a huge coconut fan, he liked these cookies!  That’s a win in my book!  Go check out the recipe here: Ashley’s Chocolate Chewies.  There’s also a non-coconut version for those of you who would prefer no coconut!

All in all it was a great trip & perfect weekend getaway!

See you next time Joshua Trees!


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Five things I’ve learned this week..

1) Ice cube trays are not invincible.  I now need a new ice cube tray..

2) You need something to catch the juice when using a juicer. Carrot juice anyone?  You’ll have to slurp the juice off the counter.. Can I say juice anymore times?

3) 8 hours of sleep is really as awesome as they say it is!

4) Sriracha is spelled with two R’s.  I’ve been spelling it Siracha all along.  Maybe I should buy this cookbook…

5) I need yoga for my sanity.  On a regular basis.

I didn’t say they were all life lessons.. just things I learned!

What have you learned recently?

“I am learning all the time.  The tombstone will be my diploma.”  ~Eartha Kitt


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Eat your veggies

Saturday night I watched some rugby. Todd’s team played in Orange County at 7pm. It was a late one.

Todd’s #15 (fullback)

They won! It was a great game.  Todd intercepted the ball & ran the length of the field to score. It was awesome!

A couple of guys (including us) went to the other team’s ‘Drink Up’.  Traditionally after a rugby game the home team feeds the away team somehow.  After this game, they all went to a local pizza joint down the street.  Look at the beer towers on each table!

In typical rugby player style.

Pizza was served.  The other team was very nice & made sure we all had what we wanted.  We watched them give awards & pound beer when receiving those awards.  One guy even had to drink out of the boot.  He scored for his first time meaning they pour beer into an old cleat & he has to drink it.  It reminded me of the rugby festivities in college.

As we were leaving Todd noticed they had Moose Drool on tap.  He couldn’t pass it up & decided to get one.

It was a late night of rugby but fun!

This morning I woke up and decided to see if I could use the juicer my mom gave me a loong time ago.

I had no idea how the thing worked so I put a carrot in to see what would happen.  I thought it wasn’t working until this started creeping out from underneath.  Oops. I guess it does work.

Now that I know where the juice comes out, I went back and tried again.

I juiced anything in my refrigerator that needed to be used.  A carrot, a whole bunch of broccoli greens..

Now we are getting some juice..

1/4 of a head of cabbage..

a whole bunch of parsley..

A head of lettuce on its last leg..

A whole orange (I think our CSA oranges are blood oranges, the flesh is half orange & half reddish)

Look at the juice I got.

You know this has to be good for you.  It didn’t taste bad but it didn’t taste excellent either.  I think it was what I expected for a green juice.  Todd had a taste and said it wasn’t bad.   That’s a good sign!

My first attempt at juicing was a success! (A few mishaps along the way but in the end it all worked out 🙂 )

Now about this mess & veggie pulp.. Is there something I can do with veggie pulp?  Maybe I should start composting..

Have a great Sunday!  I think we are going to try a hike.. we’ll see how these calves hold up.

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Creative Leftovers

I feel very lucky to have a boyfriend who will eat leftovers for weeks!  Lunches are always leftovers and dinners sometimes as well.  In order to spice it up a bit at times, you gotta get creative!

Tonight I took the leftover Channa Masala from the other night & made Stuffed Bell Peppers.  It turned out delicious.

First I cut the tops off & roasted two bell peppers at 350 degrees for a half hour (covered with foil).  Then I stuffed them with Channa Masala & continued to roast them for another half hour (covered with foil).  After that hour I removed the foil, added a bit of cheese & roasted just until the cheese melted.

Make a big salad & enjoy.  I don’t typically buy prepared salad dressing because it’s expensive.  Tonight I threw something together that worked out just fine.  I mixed red wine vinegar with water, olive oil, Dijon mustard, fresh parsley, fresh basil, & salt & pepper.  Turned out pretty good I think.  I’m interested to see how it tastes after I let it marinate in the refrigerator.

I could pretend I spent hours cooking.. but really, the oven did all the work!

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Muffin Love

I’ve still got it!

Summary 00:51:30 6.00 08:35
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After a conversation this weekend about my slow pace, I decided to see what I could do during my lunch time run today. TOYF (time on your feet) will pay off in the end! You don’t have to run fast every run.. but once a week is good to mix up your training.

Ok back to the food..

I bought blueberries last week to make some of my favorite muffins and I finally got the coconut milk to do it.  Don’t be afraid of the coconut!  Todd is not a coconut fan but he likes these muffins.  Coconut is good for u!  Try these!  Best straight out of the oven.

Loaded Blueberry Coconut Muffins

recipe from Jessica

1 1/2 cups all purpose or whole wheat pastry flour (I used all pastry)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid
1 egg
1/4-1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla, and egg, and mix until combined. Fold in shredded coconut and blueberries. Top with a sprinkling of raw turbinado sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Eat with butter, coconut butter, or just plain.

I decided to try out another one of Jessica’s muffin recipes.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins

recipe from Jessica

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk (any kind will do)
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Add oats to a bowl and add 1/2 cup of milk. Let soak for 5-10 minutes, while you prepare the first few steps of the muffins.

In a large bowl, combine egg and brown sugar and whisk until smooth and caramel in color. Add in vanilla and butter, whisking well. Try to smooth the batter as much as possible – there still may be some small butter chunks. Add flour, oat mixture, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix. Add remaining milk and combine until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.

Line a muffin tin with lines and pour about 1/4 cup batter into each line. Sprinkle the tops with raw turbinado sugar. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve with butter!

My batter was a lot thinner than Jessica’s looked. I think where I went wrong was not allowing my butter to come to room temperature as it didn’t ‘cream’ with the sugar as it should’ve. I also used all-purpose flour because I used all my pastry in the coconut blueberry muffins. Make sure you have room temperature butter & I think pastry flour is best.

Look at the chocolate chips in this muffin! Chocolate overload! Maybe 1 cup of chocolate chips is a bit much, next time I’d use less.

So, coconut blueberry were awesome & oatmeal chocolate chip needs some practice! Practice makes perfect 🙂

Hmm.. muffins for dinner?

Just kidding.. Dinner was pizza!

BBQ Shrimp Pizza

TJ’s Garlic & Herb Pizza Crust
BBQ Sauce
Red Onion
Bell Peppers
Shredded Cheese

We sauteed the veggies & then put pizza together.  Bake at 400 until crust is cooked in the center (about 30mins)

And we shared the last beer!

Today I was thinking about Spring coming which means Summer is coming that much sooner!

I can’t wait for:

– Tomato Soup

– Endless Tomatoes in my CSA Box that I don’t know what to do with

– Summer Squash Pizza

– Watermelon Salsa

– Popsicles

– Running after work in the daylight

Just a few summer thoughts.  It’ll be here before i know it!

G’Night all.

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You Deserve it!

What do you do when you’re at work till 8:30pm?!

Treat yourself! Stop at the liquor store on the way home for a bottle of vino!  Wine & cheese.. what more could a girl ask for?

Pasta! Ok, sounds good to me!

Doctor up the sauce.. Maybe add some wine & some frozen peas (gotta eat those greens!)

Y not add some chili flakes to give it a kick?

Don’t forget the cheese, lots of cheese! Remember, you’ve been at work for 12.5 hours!

You deserve it!



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