Anyone who knows me knows that I love to write. I almost don’t even care what it’s about; as long as I’m writing, I’m happy. Thankfully, along the way I’ve been blessed enough to have friends and family who have supported me, and a life crazy enough to keep me inspired.

27 years later, I decided to publish my very first novel.

best-thing-ever

It’s called Stalker, but it’s probably not what you think. In fact, the first Amazon review on it labels it as a love story, which I didn’t anticipate happening, but hey, if people like it, that’s all I care about.

Anyways, I hope that explains my recent absence from this blog, after I just began regularly updating it again!

Luckily, I hope I can make it up to you!

Stalker is available in ebook form for two more days (until Friday) in the Kindle store (HERE) or if you want the paperback version, that’s available too (HERE).

Again, I can’t thank all of you enough! Even if you’ve only ever read one post on this blog, it gave me the encouragement to continue writing and moving toward my dream of publishing a book!

A quick note, I chose to self-publish using Amazon, and spent months researching the process. As a result, I learned a lot that I hope can help other writers as well, and I will be doing an entire post on that soon. I promise!

Thank you again! You’re all my heroes!

This weekend flew by, and now I’m in the throes of full-on Halloween prep mode. So, I was looking for a drink to help fuel me through, and I happened upon this drink, the moradita.

I wanted something with tequila, because while the calendar says it’s fall, the weather still thinks it’s summer, and to me, tequila is the greatest summer liquor. And, there are a ton of other great fall drink recipes HERE too.

This is what Saveur had to say about this delicious drink:

A jalapeño-infused, blood-colored tequila and beet cocktail, the Moradita (“Little Death”), is a fresh, nearly healthy-tasting drink with some real body and a balancing hint of elegant richness.

Cheers!

I love Greek food! It always tastes so healthy and fresh, and of course a lot of it is vegetarian. But for some reason when I was growing up, I always thought it was sooo gross when my mom would get Greek salads. I’m not sure why I couldn’t get onboard with that concept, but I couldn’t… until now.

I’m not sure what possessed me to make a Greek salad one day, but I did, and I’ve been in love ever since.

The original recipe I used has since been lost, so I found a different one and adapted it!

The last time I made it was for my Nana, so you know it’s good, because I only make the best of my recipes for the family!

This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa, who I love, but her recipes end up being pretty pricey. However, this one stuck with almost all of the original ingredients I used, especially when it comes to the dressing, which is amazing!

What You Need:

1 cucumber (sliced and quartered)

1 red bell pepper(diced)

1 yellow bell pepper (diced)

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, or a cup of your favorite chopped tomatoes

1/2 red onion (diced)

4oz (one container) feta cheese

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

1 head romaine lettuce (roughly chopped)

1 bunch kale (roughly chopped, optional)

 

For the vinaigrette:

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup good red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

What You Do:

Combine all of the ingredients for the salad in one bowl

Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar or something else you can shake… then shake it up!

Mix the two and serve!

 

Messiness – There’s a lot of chopping and mixing, so as far as salads go, this isn’t the most low maintenance, but its totally worth it!

Simplicity – It’s salad, not rocket science, so that’s the good news. The bad news is that you need a lot of different ingredients. But you may already have a lot of them in your home. To make this vegan-friendly, just don’t add the feta!

Budget – When in season, you can find the majority of these ingredients on sale. The only thing you’ll need to budget in are the olives and feta. But those shouldn’t be too much, and the olives will last for awhile.

Delicious Factor - I could eat this every single day of my life, and I basically hate salad.

P.S. You can find my lettuce-free Greek salad recipe HERE, for a slightly less healthy, but no less delicious option.

For a long time it’s been a dream of mine to go to the Bahamas, rent a gorgeous house on the water, and just relax. Take in the local sites, eat good food, and have a happy, healthy vacay.

Recently, two of my favorite Instagramers, A Bikini A Day‘s founders Devin Brugman and Natasha Oakley, gave me a new destination to dream of. No, I don’t know them, and this isn’t a promoted post, I just wanted to share some cool people and some amazing pics with you.

These two women founded A Bikini A Day, and have built quite an influential space in the swimsuit world. I only write all of this because I’m such a fan of women doing what they love, and working hard for it. And also women who support each other, of course! Seeing their Insta’s is a constant reminder that we can all do what we love someday.

Anyway, according to their captions, they visited Staniel Cay in the Bahamas, and now I absolutely have to go. Here are some of their most breathtaking shots from the trip. I have to be honest, they were one of the few things that kept me going during the draining last week.

Remember, work hard and your dreams can be a reality! Here’s proof.

 

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Mermaid life 💙 @_bahamasgirl_ @tashoakley Photo by @franceduque #bahamas

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This weeks garage ⛵️ @stanielrents

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RAINBOW! 😍🌈

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What are your coordinates? ❤️ #bahamas @coordinatescollection

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Story time :) @stanielrents #abikiniadaylife #sharks

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Moving in, cool with you guys @stanielrents ? :) 💙 #bahamas

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This is my idea of perfect 💙 #bahamas

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Chillin like a villain 🌴 #Bahamas

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Hanging out with the locals 🐽 @stanielrents @abikiniaday #abikiniadaylife

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Spending a day in the life of a SHARK! Thanks for showing me around guys!

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I was actually more scared of this guy than the sharks, hence the stick I’m using to feed him!! #iguanaisland

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Look who I found!! @devinbrugman

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Rainbows everyday 🌈 @stanielrents #stanielcay

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Under the sea 🎶🐠 @elenakalis

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Floating with @_bahamasgirl_ 💕

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Chargement

Just another day with my baby @martinmedus (📷 by @franceduque)

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Underwater piggy back rides with @tashoakley 💙 @stanielrents

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At Thunderbolt cave in Staniel Cay, Exumas with @stanielrents @franceduque @tashoakley

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If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m all about keeping things as simple as possible. It’s easier to keep life uncluttered, and allow me to spend time on my other projects.

So, when I found out the mimosa had a less fizzy, more potent counterpart, I was SOLD!

The first time I ever had a screwdriver, my Uncle Steve — who is one of the best bartenders ever — requested one for me while we were at the bar in Ouray, Colorado.

It was delicious, and I’ve been drinking them ever since. To make it, you just need orange juice and vodka. Seriously, that’s it! I half and half mine, but feel free to make your own proportions.

So, let’s raise our glasses and toast to Tuesday, because we still have a great week ahead of us!

P.S. I found this picture along with lots of other 2-ingredient drinks HERE.

black beans spanish brown rice

Whenever I’m trying to eat healthy, I have a few staples that help me stay on track. Eggs and apples are obvious ones, but I recently came up with this recipe for black beans and Spanish brown rice.

Now, if you’re looking for the most authentic tasting Spanish rice, this isn’t it. But, I can say that everyone who has tried it has loved it! It can also be a versatile base for other vegetarian things like tacos and burgers (see the Simplicity section below).

Also, I used dried black beans for my recipe, but you can just as easily use a can of black beans, and since that’s what most people use, I’ll write the recipe using a can.

That said, I’m a big fan of buying bags of dried beans and legumes, soaking them while I’m at work, then cooking them when I get home. Also, it’s extremely cost effective since a bag of black beans is about $1 and will make 3-4 cans worth. Also, then I just always have food on-hand since I try not to stock my cupboard too much ahead of time.

 

 

 

black beans spanish brown rice 2

What You Need:

One can black beans

3 roma tomatoes (chopped)/can of diced tomatoes

Small handful copped cilantro (optional)

1 can tomato sauce (not paste, not pasta sauce, just tomato sauce)

1/2 diced yellow onion (optional)

1/2 cup brown rice

1/2 TBSP chili powder

1 TBSP garlic salt (or 1/2 salt and 1/2 garlic powder)

1/2 TBSP oregano

1 tsp black pepper

1 cup vegetable broth (optional – I didn’t use it in the photo above, and it still tasted fine)

 

What You Do:

Cook your brown rice according to the instructions (I just cooked my beans for 2 hours, then when they were near tender, I added the brown rice and cooked for another 30 minutes, which is why mine have a darker color than usual)

While it’s cooking (before the rice is done), add the tomatoes, onions, tomato paste, chili powder, garlic salt, oregano, black pepper, and vegetable broth. Continue cooking until the rice is tender

Add the beans and cilantro and cook together for a few minutes, until the beans are warm (If you used dried beans, then just add cilantro and serve!)

 

Messiness – This is not messy at all! The measurements don’t need to be exact, so feel free to measure them over the pot to cut down on even more mess.

Simplicity – What isn’t there to love about a recipe that you can leave on the stove while you do something else and it takes care of itself? That’s exactly how easy this is. And it’s easy to make other things with it. For example, use this as the base for some veggie tacos, or shape the mixture, roll it in bread crumbs, and quickly bake for super easy veggie burger patties.

Budget – This is my favorite part of this recipe! Like I mentioned, I use a bag of dried beans, and have a bag of brown rice, so the only things I needed to buy were tomato paste and tomatoes, both of which totaled under $2 (I found 6 fresh roma tomatoes for $1 at Fresh and Easy). Not only is it cheap to make, but it makes a lot! This recipe is enough to feed 2-4 people, or to have that many premade meals for your week.

Delicious Factor - It’s great! Of course, true Spanish rice is made with white rice, so this definitely tastes healthier, but it doesn’t take away from the final product at all.

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