posted by on travel

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I’ve been MIA for a bit – sorry about that! In the last couple of weeks I’ve started a new adventure and began working full time for Inman News as social media manager. I’m very excited about the opportunity, but have no fear. I will try to be better about staying on top of my little site!

This weekend I was able to take something off my check list of things I wanted to see while I live in Arizona – Tucson!

We started out by stopping through the West (Tucson Mountain) District of Saguaro National Park.

View from the Visitor’s Center

For $10 you can access both the East and West sides of the park with a variety of hiking trails. If we would have been more prepared, we probably would have stayed longer.

I love the texture!

One of the many trailheads at Saguaro National Park









We stayed at the Arizona Inn. If you don’t know about this place you really should read about its history.

Entrance to Arizona Inn – Courtyard area – Patio for bottom floor rooms

It’s amazing and probably the most beautiful and peaceful places I’ve stayed. Who’s going to pass up their beautiful outdoor pool, bicycles to ride around Tucson and the nightly ice cream social by the pool? The list of movie stars that have stayed here are incredible. I can’t wait to go back!

Barrio Brewing’s Red Cat Amber


We also visited Barrio Brewing for lunch and their brews (I enjoyed their Red Cat Amber and my boyfriend liked the Barrio IPA) & Dragoon Brewing (I honestly was slightly disappointed with only 4 beers to try in their tasting room, none of which really surprised me but I did enjoy the Stronghold Session Ale and we both really liked their IPA, too).


I can’t forget Mission San Xavier del Bac. I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

Mission San Xavier del Bac in Tucson

Inside of the Mission – loved the pattern & texture of this door leading into the church – snake door handle on the entrance doors

the sunset outside the mission – love the iron work on the walls – detail of the front of the mission

Before we left on Sunday I had to check out the historic Hotel Congress. We waited to be seated in Cup Cafe (located inside the hotel) out in the lobby area of the hotel. A sun lit bar greeted us with fresh mimosas and Sierra Nevada Torpedo on tap. Drinks combined with the local live music and our 20 minute wait seemed like nothing at all.

Mimosa and live music in the lobby of Hotel Congress – Wine bottle chandeliers in Cup Cafe – loved the Ouija Board coffee table!

Once we were seated in the Cup Cafe I ordered a bloody mary. I was told the build your own was only at the outside bar and that the cafe’s bartender makes his own. I decided I’d try his. Served with olives and cucumber slices, I can say honestly this was the best bloody mary I’ve ever had (note: I am not a bloody mary expert so take that lightly – or don’t). Everything on the menu looked amazing but I was hooked the minute I saw BAGEL ‘N’ LOX on the menu. An everything bagel served with tequila-cured lox, capers, red onion, chopped egg, garlic chive cream cheese and I was in heaven.

Aside from all the crazy construction, we found some gems in Tucson and I can’t wait to go back!

posted by on cooking for 2, quick

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Believe it or not, Sriracha is fairly new to me (take a few minutes to let the shock pass). I’ve been experimenting more with it and found this asian glazed drumstick recipe on Pinterest via Skinnytaste. Honestly it looked so good I didn’t really care what the calorie count was, I had to make it!

I didn’t end up making the full recipe because I only had a pack of 5 drumsticks but I still followed the original recipe excluding a couple things I didn’t have in my kitchen.

Start to finish, this recipe comes together quicker than I thought it would and is pretty versatile no matter what cut of chicken you have or what’s on sale.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 5-8 medium chicken drumsticks, skin removed
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tsp agave nectar (I used sugar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated (I used ground ginger instead, just a few shakes)
  • 2 tbsp chives or scallions, chopped (I omitted this)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (I omitted this)
  1. Spray olive oil in a large skillet set to high heat.
  2. Brown the drumsticks for 3-4 minutes until they are nice and golden brown.
  3. In a bowl, mix the water, balsamic, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger & hot sauce.
  4. Pour mix over the browned drumsticks.
  5. Cook on high until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 20 minutes.
  6. Uncover and turn the heat to high to reduce/thicken the sauce (about 8-10 minutes) until it becomes a thick glaze (make sure to turn the chicken frequently).
  7. Pour glaze over chicken & top with chives and sesame seeds.


posted by on baking, Denver, high altitude, homemade, Phoenix


Out of curiosity, I wanted to know the history of the snickerdoodle. I can’t remember the first time I tried one, but if I could only take one cookie with me should I ever get stranded on a desert island, it would be the snickerdoodle.

Many sources say that the word snickerdoodle may have come from the German word “schneckennudeln,” which directly translates to “snail noodles”. Go and Google that word and pictures of  cinnamon pinwheel pastries that resemble snails come up.

The recipe I have for snickerdoodles is one I used while I lived in Denver and it held up beautifully at the high altitude. I made them a couple of nights ago, here in Phoenix, and they were just as cakey & sweet as ever. Mine don’t turn out as flat as other recipes, but I like that when you bite into them, there’s a slight crunch from the sugar and cinnamon on the outside and the inside is soft, moist and tender from the cream of tartar.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar & 2 teaspoons cinnamon (to roll the dough in)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Combine the softened butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Blend in the vanilla & eggs and mix until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda & salt.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients a little at a time into the wet mixture and blend with a mixer well after each addition. You may have to finish mixing the dough with a wooden spoon, it will be thick!
  5. Shape the dough into 1″ balls and roll in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. (These don’t flatten out a whole lot, so you should be able to fit a dozen on a baking sheet with no problem)
  6. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes. The tops will be cracked and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on a wire rack.
  7. Keep the snickerdoodles in an airtight container to keep the insides moist! *these also keep well in the freezer if you roll the dough into balls, freeze on a flat sheet and store in freezer bags for later use.*


posted by on baking, homemade, quick

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This recipe is not mine but I’m really excited to share it with those of you who choose to or demand a gluten free lifestyle. Peanut butter cookies are a favorite and this recipe from Miss Kait is just what the world needed!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 egg
    that’s it…really

Mix all ingredients together – her recipe says to roll into balls but it looked like such a mess. I just spooned the dough onto my cookie sheet and flattened with a criss-cross pattern with a fork and sprinkled some sugar on top before baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

original recipe found here (check out the rest of her blog too – she has some really amazing stuff to share!)

posted by on cooking, leftovers, quick, vegetable

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Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest. Found this gem on you know what. Really have no other words than it was so good, what was to be leftovers ended up being a second helping! Thanks to the Buns In My Oven blog for sharing the recipe.
*my version ended up being vegetarian friendly because I only had vegan bouillon instead of chicken broth – it was just as good, if not better!*

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup rice (I used regular instant rice)
  • 2 cups broth (I used Rapunzel brand Vegan Vegetable Bouillon – No Salt)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated (wash and leave the peel on!)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I finely shredded it so it would melt fully)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder (I used a dash of garlic salt & skipped the salt below)
  • salt and pepper to your liking
  • splash of milk, if needed (mine didn’t need it)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add rice and stir to coat. Toast, stirring it often. Mine didn’t really turn golden like her recipe calls for (perhaps I was just impatient).
  3. Pour in the broth & bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover and let simmer.
  4. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice has soaked up most of the liquid.
  5. Remove from heat and add in the butter, zucchini, cheese & garlic. Stir until cheese is melted and everything is mixed well.
  6. Add salt & pepper to taste and milk if needed (again, I didn’t need the milk).

posted by on baking, Denver, grandma, homemade

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The sisters, kids & bf all recently loaded up in a car in Denver and headed back to my small hometown in Nebraska to help celebrate my mother’s 50th birthday. Mom knew right away what she wanted me to bake for her birthday cake. Grandma K’s spice cake. I didn’t know that there was a recipe out there but apparently Grandma used to make this cake when my mom and her siblings were growing up. Thanks to Aunt Karolynn for giving it to us!

What you’ll need:

  • ¾ cup mayo
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons Karo syrup (dark)
Mix all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (Seriously, that’s it.) Since it was momma’s 50th we decided to get a little creative and make 2 sheet cakes and cut out a ‘5’ and a ‘0’.

My niece Temperance was my little helper!

I used parchment paper to draw out and use as a stencil for the ‘5’ & ‘0’.

My sister (the one who went to culinary school!) crumb coats the cakes for me before I put on the buttercream.

The birthday girl and her finished cake! Certainly doesn’t look 50, does she?

Trust me when I say the frosting is what makes this cake and brings out all the spices in it.
Buttercream Frosting – what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (do not melt!)
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, SIFTED
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk
  1. Beat butter for a few minutes on medium speed. 
  2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed and mix fully with the butter.
  3. On medium speed, add and mix the vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk. 
  4. Beat for approx. 3 minutes. 
  5. Add remaining sugar if needed or add more milk if thinning out is needed.  

**I used some extra cake mix to bake my nephew’s 1st birthday cake since we were doing a joint party that weekend. My sister wanted Cookie Monster – I did the best I could.**

Me working on the Cookie Monster cake.

Finished! Yes, his eyes are too close together…

Mason before the destruction!

I saved the best photo for last! photo credit: AJ Vicens

Guest Post: Sopes


posted by on cooking, homemade

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I am so happy to share this blog post from my dear friend Diana! She is someone who I have a lot of respect and admiration for. She likes to joke a lot and has a pretty sarcastic sense of humor (not unlike myself), but the pride she has for her home country is something I think we can all learn from!
I once ate at a Mexican restaurant with a friend. She ordered the sopes, but didn’t eat the sope part. Craziest thing I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot of crazy things. I don’t know why she doesn’t just order a salad. I like to think she doesn’t eat them because they are fried. Well, do I have a solution for her! Oven baked sopes. YUM! I actually prefer them fried, but if you’re trying to watch what you eat, like myself, baked sopes are healthy and nutritious (I think). I also don’t have a lot of time, so I made a super fast recipe. I’m trying to be the Mexican Rachel Ray (not really, but kind of).

What you’ll need:
Sope Topping

  • 1 of your favorite store bought oven roasted chickens
  • ¼ of a medium tomato
  • ¼ of a medium onion
  • 2 cans of EL PATO sauce (yellow can)
  • 1 can of black beans (drained)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup of lettuce (shredded)
  • 1, 2 or 3 Modelos
  • 1 lime


  • 1 ½ cups Maseca (Instant corn masa mix)
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Ok, vamos! You don’t have to do everything in this order, this is just the way I do them so you should probably do it too.

  1. Start by shredding the chicken, then setting it aside.
  2. Finely chop the tomato and onion. If you start crying with the onion, ask yourself the same thing George Lopez would ask you: “Why you crying?”
  3. When you’re done with that, open the cans of the Pato sauce. Pato means duck in spanish. I have no idea what the connection between ducks and hot sauce is, so go ask another Mexican. Set everything aside & start making the sopes.
  4. In a mixing bowl add the Maseca, salt and slowly add the water.
  5. Knead it with your hands (wash them first, you don’t want to be a dirty Mexican). Knead until it’s not too crumly. If you add too much water and it’s moist, just add more Maseca. When it’s perfect for making balls, put it back in the bowl and cover with wet cloth. It tends to harden quick so cover it well.
  6. To make the sope, first make a ball about the size of a baseball or a bit smaller.
  7. Flatten it to about ¼ inch think with your hand and pinch it to make a sope.
  8. Repeat the process until you have about 5 sopes and a sombrero. You have to make sombrero or they wont taste right (just kidding).
  9. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  10. While that warms up, using a dry skillet (no oil) brown the bottom of the sopes on medium-high heat. Then place them on a baking sheet.
  11. Bake in oven for about 10-15 minutes.
  12. While your sopes bake, finish the chicken topping.
  13. Using a little olive oil, sauté the onions then add the tomato.
  14. Mix in the Pato sauce, chicken and beans.
  15. Broil for about 5 minutes and set aside.
  16. Shred the lettuce, slice the avocado, drink a Modelo or two or three, with lime of course.
  17. When your sopes are baked, top with the chicken, lettuce and avocado.
    Now, eat.

Make sure you EAT the sope or you will fail as a Mexican.
You can pretty much make any topping you’d like, I just like the chicken because it’s fast and you have leftovers for lunch.

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