There’s no better compliment from Brian than, “this is blog worthy,” when I am experimenting with a new recipe. The inspiration for this recipe originally came from a Cooking Light email that landed in my inbox, but there was one thing wrong. It called for an InstaPot. I haven’t quite jumped on the InstaPot bandwagon yet, but this recipe still sounded like I needed to give it a try. It was a cold winter night and I needed a fiesta in my mouth!

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Have you ever stuck your hand out with a few seeds on it, only to have a cute little chickadee land on your fingers and pluck that morsel off of your palm? No? If this sounds fun and you want to channel your inner Snow White, Chickadee Ridge is your place to go for an experience like no other.

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Whenever I try to follow a paleo lifestyle, or at least reduce the amount of inflammatory grains in my diet from things like bread, pasta, and rice, I always turn to sweet potatoes. They are so satisfying, provide a wonderful source of carbs, and are full of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, potassium, and much, much more. Here’s a few of my favorite sweet potato recipes I’ve made over the years:

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It’s that time of year again. The time of year where it seems like every person who has a blog or social media presence is posting about one of two things: 1) a review of the previous year, or 2) what their goals are for the coming year. While cliche, I do think that reflection and goal-setting are an important part of personal development. I also believe that there is something to be said about making those things public. If you’ve announced the ways you plan to grow and develop to the entire world, you’re that much more likely to do it, right? It’s worth a try.

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I can’t believe it. My little girl turned 11 today. Over the past 11 years, she has taught me patience and responsibility, but most importantly, unconditional love. Roxanne has been by my side through ups and downs, and always, always, loves me no matter what. There really is something to be said about the loyalty and comfort that dogs can provide.

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Cast Iron Potatoes au Gratin

Over the past year, we’ve really started experimenting with new recipes in our cast iron dutch oven every time we go camping. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into at first, but I have come to absolutely love it. It’s probably because I just put the stuff in the dutch oven and then Brian does all the hard work—moving it around, putting coals on top, making sure it is the right temperature—but between the two of us, I think we have a pretty good thing going.

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Kauai: A Week in Paradise

I can’t believe it’s taken me two months to write about my awesome trip to Kauai, but better late than never? This was my fourth (or fifth??) time visiting this amazing island and it did not disappoint.

If you’ve ever heard the term “island time,” you know it refers to a slower than average pace. Like a really slow pace. I only wish that vacation went by in “island time” speed. Instead, it seems more like time is on steroids and goes by way too fast. There is just never enough of it. We definitely made the best of our time though and I’ve put together all the highlights of each day.

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If there is one place I can never get enough of in the Lake Tahoe area, it is Desolation Wilderness. The 63,000 acre area with endless trail systems and lakes has a solid permit system that keeps it from being overcrowded. Although this sometimes works to your disadvantage if you can’t secure a permit, it is worth the solitude. Every time I go, it is a different experience with memories to cherish for a lifetime. This past weekend with Brian and our fur babies was no different.

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I have been toying with the idea of dehydrating my own backpacking food for quite some time . Sure, I love Mountain House, Ramen, and oatmeal, but I really wanted to find a way to make delicious backpacking meals that didn’t make you question what you were really eating. The only problem was, I wasn’t sure where to start. I love cooking, but dehydrating can be a little intimidating in that it requires special knowledge and equipment.

Don’t fret! I’ve put lots of hours into researching and experimenting for you, and have to say that my first finished product turned out better than any prepackaged meal I’ve had. A couple of things before I get to that recipe. To start, you’ll need a few things:

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I am so excited that I got my first girls’ backpacking trip in this summer! Several summers ago my friends, Lisa and Jenn, became my wilderness soul sisters. We backpacked together four times that summer (Desolation Wilderness, Grouse Ridge, Bear Lake, and Star Lake) and haven’t done it since. We made a point to get out the other weekend to somewhere new and beautiful, Loch Leven Lakes.

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Summertime in the Sierras is in full-swing and I was so happy to get a camping trip in this past weekend. Because of other commitments on the weekends and a snowpack that is still monstrous at high elevations, this was our first camping trip in the mountains this year. Either way, it felt good to get back in the woods for a few nights, cook over an open fire, and swim in a cold mountain lake.

Our choice this past weekend was Gold Lake, located off of Gold Lake Highway in Plumas National Forest. The lake is one of dozens of lakes in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. A couple of summers ago when we hiked the nearby Sierra Buttes, you could see all the lakes in the area from the peak. It is definitely a beautiful sight.

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The first five days of my June 100 Mile Challenge have come to a close. I’ve gotten a pretty good start on my mileage and put in 13.15 miles in the first 5 days – only 80 some-odd miles to go in 25 days! Below is a recap of what the first few days looked like:

  • Thursday (6/1) – 5.58 miles on the elliptical
  • Friday (6/2) – 3.09 mile run by the Lake
  • Saturday (6/3) – 1.42 mile hike in Galena Forest
  • Sunday (6/4) – no miles; just gardening and lots of house chores
  • Monday (6/5) – 3.06 mile run by the Lake
  • TOTAL MILES @ 6/5 – 13.15

It has been so nice to be outside in Tahoe lately. Spring (summer?) is finally here and the weather has been perfect the past few days. If you’re anything like me, when the weather gets warm, one of my go-to things to eat for lunch on a weekday is a big salad with whatever leftover protein I have in the fridge from the night before.

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When I graduated with my MBA this time last year, I told myself that I was going to get back to one simple thing that helps make me feel whole–running. Well, a year has passed and I haven’t run more than a few days in each week…and there have been lots of weeks when I didn’t run at all. We can all relate to the excuses of work, life, weather, etc., but the fact is, if you really want it, just do it.

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In my last post, I wrote about finding a little gem of a beach when we were driving home from Tomales Bay, CA a little over a month ago. This past weekend was Memorial Day and we decided to make a trip back to the coast to explore here some more. The little town of Dillon Beach, CA is located at the mouth of Tomales Bay on the Sonoma Coast. Without traffic, it is almost exactly a four hour drive from Lake Tahoe. We packed up and left on Saturday morning and were at the campground by mid-day.

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Looking outside on a gloomy Tahoe afternoon in April, all I can think about is the beautiful adventure we were lucky enough to go on this weekend. I didn’t know anything about where we were about to go. Only that my parents were there for the first time in September and fell in love with this quaint little area on the California coast. They loved it so much that they wanted to share it with us this weekend (thanks Mom and Dad!), so we packed our bags for a four hour road trip to Nick’s Cove, located in Tomales Bay, CA.

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Yesterday was our oldest fur baby’s 13th birthday. Yep. 13. I guess there is something about the fresh Lake Tahoe air and fetching tennis balls in the ice cold, crystal clear water. We would have loved to take the old dude for a dip in the Lake, but it was a pretty miserable day with rain and snow showers. Side bar, Mother Nature, did you get the message that it is supposed to be Spring??!?

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Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

I am so glad this week is finally over. I have been hanging on by a thread, just trying to make it to the weekend, without whatever crud I have in my head turning into a full blown cold. This weekend is going to consist of nothing but naps, movies, and some delicious shepherd’s pie. Oh, and snow. Did I forget to mention snow?

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Happy Valentine’s Day all you sweet people! Whether you are in a relationship, single, or undecided (???), this ooey gooey Hallmark holiday is great reminder that we need to spread love every. single. day. Walking around full of hate and victim thinking does nothing good for anyone. Nothing. Let today be a reminder that love heals all things, and it is absolutely free to give to someone else!

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Doggie Cupcakes!

It was our youngest fur baby’s birthday over the weekend. Well, we don’t really know when his official date of birth is since he was a rescue, but Friday was close enough and we made sure that we celebrated this big ball of love’s special day. I have never met a dog like Wez and he stole my heart from the day his dad introduced me to him. Well played, Brian, well played. Wez is some sort of Aussie Shepherd mix and a constant source of laughter. When he isn’t on squirrel guard, he is in your face or lap, trying to get as much attention and love that he can. He is the most loyal dog I have ever met and I am so happy that I get to share a part of my life with him.

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I love being surprised. Or maybe should I say, I love being pleasantly surprised because bad surprises are dumb. This weekend was definitely a pleasant surprise when I got to adventure in a new area that I really knew nothing about. I’ve lived 3 hours away from Feather Falls, CA almost my entire life, but I have never explored here. Maybe it is because it is off the beaten path, or maybe it is because I thought all of Central California was the same—nothing but rolling brown hills and lots of cows. I’m glad to squash this preconception. Feather Falls and the surrounding areas are full of lush green forests, crystal clear mountain streams, and some amazing trails.

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