Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring Vegetable Soup [aka Spring Head-Cold Soup]

I love spring. I think it is my favorite season. Especially late spring where it is almost summer but not quite and you can start eating outside again, wear dresses and flip flops, open the windows.... Yep, I love it.

However, I do not like spring head know the kind that starts out as allergies and then turns into a full-blown head cold? Yeah....I have that. So today, this rainy spring Monday, as I sniffle my way round the house, I decided to make soup.

Spring Vegetable Soup
This is probable the easiest soup you will make....well actually most soup is pretty easy, but I promise this one you don't even measure and it takes 10 mins. I will give you a list of ingredients you can use but you can decide how much of each you're feeling that day. It's happy soup because of all the bright green veggies and the corn adds a sweetness. You could even add ravioli for a heartier bowl. 

Olive Oil
Sweet Onion
Chopped Garlic
Oregano (fresh or dried)
Celery (especially the leafy parts)
Fresh Green Beans
White Corn (cut straight off the cob if you have it)
Chopped Tomatoes (canned or fresh)
Vegetable Broth
Salt & Pepper

Heat up a drizzle of olive oil and the garlic in a pot at medium heat. Add the veggies (except the tomatoes) to the pot as you chop them. Add a tiny sprinkle of salt to help the veggies "sweat" some of their liquid. Let them cook until the broccoli starts to look bright green. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the oregano and pepper. Pour in the broth. Bring to a simmer and add salt to taste. 

Serve in big bowls with crusty cheese toast and a cup of tea.


Proud [weekend] Moments

This weekend was full of joyful and proud moments for me...

 My littlest sister got into a study abroad program in Australia for next year! She and Australia are meant to be... I've always felt they would go well together and now she gets to GO!!! So proud of her! She also rocked 2 job interviews this weekend, including 1 that she has been wanting to get for a while. 

My other little sister is now halfway to being a nurse! She just completed her first [insane] year of a very competitive nursing programs and I am so proud of her! She is going to be one of those nurses that patients request if possible because she's that awesome. 

One of my best friends and college roommates completed her first full marathon (before me by the way and she always referred to me as "trackstar") up in her hometown in the redwoods. So proud and excited for her! I can't wait to run Birthday Ragnar 2014 with her on my team!

This one is more of an exciting moment than a proud moment...though I am proud to be friends with this wonderful dear friend Megan and her husband are having a BABY!!! Beautiful Megan has muscular dystrophy but that has never stopped her from doing everything she can dream of and now that includes being a mom! They are going to be wonderful parents! Can't wait to meet the little peanut! 

Lastly... what I am most excited and proud of and the thing that I got to make this event invite for... N is GRADUATING!!! As in done-with-school-forever if he wants. He's got to make it through finals this week so pray for him if you think of it... and then we get to celebrate next weekend with a BBQ and pool-floating.

All very exciting stuff happening around here!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Coconut Oil Brownies [high-alt recipe]

Don't you want to just faceplant into this deliciousness?

I've been on the Coconut Oil bandwagon for about a year now. It started with popcorn and stir-fry, then soon became my go to moisturizer for winter-cracked skin and lips, then added to baking soda for spa worthy face masks as well as a deep conditioner for my hair...and now this. In my brownies. As a substitute for BUTTER (my sister and I get all Paula Dean with butter especially in baked goods so this is big!) But oh this is good stuff right here.

I LOOOVVEE chocolate and coconut together and the coconut oil adds just a hit of it's flavor so I'm a go with that. Also coconut oil is overall better for you so when I  you eat 5 of these brownies  you won't feel as guilty. So from now on brownies made with coconut oil will always be a yes for this girl.

(Oh and this is a High-Altitude recipe since we need that sort of thing here in Flag. I don't know why I haven't posted more h.alt. recipes on here since its such a big part of cooking up here...I'll try to give you more of them if you are interested.)

Coconut Oil Brownies [h. alt.]
makes 9x9 pan. adapted from here.

1 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar (loosely packed)
3/4 cup Coconut Oil melted
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 eggs
7/8 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt (for a taste closer to "Salted Chocolate" use course sea salt)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix sugars, coconut oil, and vanilla in a large bowl until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time and mix each until combined.
Fold the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into the sugar-egg mixture. Then fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour into a greased 9x9 pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blog Lovin'

I was trying to think of what to post on this lovely afternoon and I was drawing a blank so I headed over to some of my favorite blogs for some luck on the inspiration (though it did leave me wanting a both drink and cake form) so I thought I would share a list of the blogs I've been frequenting recently in no particular order...

How Sweet It Is - Awesome food blog that will leave you drooling and laughing at the same time...yes that is possible and not an attractive sight but sooo worth it.

The Fitnessista- This lovely lady will make you want to get your butt in the gym to work off all of the food from the previous blog but don't worry she makes it quick...not painless though.

dash and bella- This one has wonderful recipes, poetry, rants, and reminders of how life is better and more delicious when it's edges are free form and that crème fraîche goes with everything.

Mariannan- For when I don't know what to wear and am missing European living...

Darling Magazine
-This online magazine/blog space has refreshing articles and is like girl chat time. Their print magazines are gorgeous as well...

So that's what I have been reading recently... enjoy!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Prescott Birthday Weekend

With April being the Haystacks 2.0 birthday month and N's actual birthday was on Saturday...

...we celebrated with these insane cakebattericecream-funfetti-cakebatterwhippedcream-cupcakes (N's request) for breakfast...

...then jetted down to Prescott where we met up with the Haystacks 1.0 and friends...

...the boys did some of this (for over 40 miles!!!)

...and us girls did some of this (ran 9 miles uphill!!!+ shopping)

Then we went out to a fun dinner and had some (dry) chocolate cake with too many candles!

Cheers to Fun Birthdays and Wonderful Family.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

With N being in school and me working for a school we still get the luxury of Spring Break! It officially started for us this weekend and we spent our time enjoying the warmer spring weather, the company of good friends, and celebrating the Irish with some good beer.

Here is our weekend wrap-up:
1. Went to Rendezvous twice for coffee with friends.
2. Did a Hiit circuit workout.  Six pack I'm coming for you!
3. Watched this movie. Sooo good!
4. Made this stew. Yum!
5. Celebrated St. Patty's day with Guinness and dancing with my favorite guy.


Irish Stout Stew... even better the next day! [It is also really hard to take an attractive photo'll just have to trust me on this one - it's REALLY good.]

In honor of my husband's Irish heritage...yes he is actually more Irish than Mexican if you can believe it...and of St. Patty's day, I make this delicious stew. This is the first stew of our married life and based on the reviews of a man who loves stews and pot pies it turned out pretty darn good.

It's a pretty basic recipe, and though we rarely eat red meat in this house, the beef stew meat was pretty tasty after simmering in beer and garlic for a couple hours.

I found the recipe here and adjusted it a little...I didn't add the mushrooms because neither of us have come to like them despite being told "When you grow up you will love them."[I guess we're not grown up yet because we are not fans.] I also only used 1 lb of meat and used unsalted vegetable stock to make it a little healthier and control the saltiness.  The rest of the adjustments you can see below...

Irish Stout Stew
adapted from Edible Ireland's recipe

1lb of cubed stewing beef
4 carrots cut thickly
1 med onion cut thickly
2 med potatoes cubed
2 tsp of chopped garlic
2 Tbl tomato paste
1 Tbl soy sauce (or Bragg's Aminos)
1 Tbl thyme
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 bottles of Stout beer (or Guinness)
3 cups of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Pat the meat dry and sprinkle a little flour on it before browning it in a large pot with olive oil. Once browned remove the meat and add the vegetables with a little salt. Let these cook until the onions begin to look soft. Add the tomato paste, soy sauce, and thyme with a good amount of pepper and stir to coat the vegetables well. Let these cook for about 2 more minutes and then use a bit of the beer to deglaze the pan. Add the meat back in, 1 bottle of beer (save the other half bottle for the end), the stock and the bay leaves. Bring this to a low boil covered and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let it simmer for 2 hours uncovered. As it is simmering, stir it occasionally and add a little water or more stock if it starts to look dry. You will know it is done when the meat pulls apart easily and it is thick. At the very end add the last 1/2 bottle of beer, let it get hot, and then serve.

What did you do for St. Patty's day?


Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's a Good Day for Pi[e]

Happy Pi Day!!! It's the best excuse to make a's the one day of the year that the date matches up with the standard rounding of Pi - 3.14 [wait, next year all of March can be abbreviated to 3/14 so does that mean it's Pi month?!?! 31 days of PIE! What?!?!? Oh it's happening.]

So in honor of Pi[e] day and my mother who is the Princess of Pie (my grandmother is the Queen) here is a blueberry pie recipe for you:
(I wish I had a picture for you but it got lost...I will take one and load it soon. For now use your imagination... A glossy delicious chilled blueberry pie with fresh whipped cream....)

Blueberry Pie
makes 1 9"pie

9" baked pie shell (use your favorite recipe...I have one but that's for a different time)

5 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbls cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cranberry/cran-apple/cran-raspberry juice [you can use water too]
1 Tbls butter
1 Tbls lemon juice

In a microwave-safe bowl or a sauce pan mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and juice. Add 2 cups of blueberries and stir well.  Microwave or cook 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick and glossy.

Once removed from heat stir in the butter and lemon juice.

Spread the other 3 cups of blueberries in the pie shell. Pour the hot blueberry mixture over them evenly.

Let the pie chill until firm before serving with LOTS of whipped cream.

Cheers. [and Happy Pi(e) Day!]

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekend [wrap-up]

Welp...winter's back...

...and I'm not sure how I feel about it. It was beginning to be spring last week - in the upper 50's and such- now two days of heavy snow. Oh well. It's supposed to be back in the 50's tomorrow so there is hope of spring yet!

Here's the weekend wrap-up:

1. Was sooo very thankful for our tire cables (though I still don't know how to put them on by myself...that's what husbands are for).

2. Dreaming of here and doing this.

3. Took naps.

4. Kicked my own butt doing this .

5. Made these muffins.

6. Had a date night with the hubby and saw this movie.

7. Dyed N's hair blue (pictures to come).


Whole Wheat Apple Flax Muffins [recipe]

Made these for breakfast... should too. They're DELICIOUS [and healthy]!

Whole Wheat Apple Flax Muffins
(These are based loosely on a Flax muffin recipe I have that I add to and change all the time. They are Vegan too!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup White Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
Then add:

3 Tbl Water
3 Tbl Oil
1/2 cup Almond Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Fold in:

1 Chopped Apple

Put in greased muffin tin. Sprinkle oats on top if desired. Then bake for 10 minutes. 
Makes a dozen muffins. 


Friday, March 8, 2013

interesting thoughts

Did you know today is International Women's Day?!? 

I had never heard of it until I spent time over in Eastern Europe a couple of years ago. It's just beginning to be recognized in the U.S. (thanks Google for the shout out this year), but in other places around the world it's like mother's day but for ALL women . Women get flowers and cards and are recognized for all the amazing work they do socially, politically, and individually. It's a pretty neat holiday.

This is a picture of my first Women's Day experience... I was in Russia where Women's Day is a big deal and all of us ladies got flowers and compliments. 

Though the flowers and compliments are great, the cool thing about Women's Day is the awareness platform it provides. Whether that be awareness of how woman are being oppressed or awareness of how women are positively influencing our world, it's a awesome opportunity. 

As I have mentioned before in my post on The Good Woman Project, empowering women is a topic very near to my heart and a passion of mine... so when I came across this article on a friend's facebook page and thought I would share it today. It's an article from Relevant magazine and to read it click -->> here

Cheers [and happy International Women's Day!].

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

Here is the Haystack 2.0 weekend wrap-up...

I got to hang out with my little buddy and play legos and wrestle with him. He is our godson and my best friend's oldest. I also got to meet her new little princess (and our new goddaughter). And best of all I got to spend most of the day with my BESTEST friend Brittany! We got to go for a run together and catch up on life. It was so refreshing to spend time with her. I wish we lived on the same coast.... someday we will. 

Then N and I went down to Sedona for a Sunday adventure...he explored some crazy mt. bike trails and I hiked/ran. We stopped for Dairy Queen on our way home to some delicious fish tacos.

Cheers to neon shoes and red dirt.

RAGNAR [a.k.a. crazy race]

Two weeks ago I was in the midst of what felt like death in the form of a nasty virus called "The Crud" (at least that's what my doctor called it)... not the official FLU but it might as well be it's evil twin... Think fever for 4 days, achy everything, then when that goes away a stuffy nose that turns into a cough that lasts for 10 days...

I'm so glad I have a job that lets me take sick days and that we had a snowday and a short week that week BUT I was even more happy that I was feeling better by the end of the week (despite the cough) because I had RAGNAR (a.k.a. A crazy race).
 These pictures pretty much sum up the event.... its a 202 mile relay race all over Arizona with 12 people per team and everyone runs 3 times. It took us 31 hours total. With that much time in vans and very little sleep we all get a little crazy. Tutus are the look of choice and everyone's vans are decorated with funny sayings.

This one was a favorite...

 We had hula hoops for cheering and you have no idea how encouraging it was at mile 5 to see everyone "hoopin'" and hollering for you...even if it's not your team. This is most of our team (1 is running when it was taken)

Getting ready for my first 6.7 miler...thank God for the inhaler someone had in the car [remember 10 day cough?]. I was surprised at how well I rocked it. I guess training at 7,000 feet has it's advantages.

So happy to see these signs every time...

Me and my rock-star Mother-in-love who got me into this crazy thing! She's amazing!

ALL FINISHED!!! It was sooo much fun with the right amount of crazy.... next one is Las Vegas in November as an Ultra team [6 people and you run double!!!] Watch out I'm gettin my Duces Wild medal! I'm also planning on a SoCal birthday run next year with some girlfriends. 


Thursday, February 14, 2013

goodnight [my loves]

One last thing to make you smile on this pink sparkly love filled day....

"And that's the truth!"

Cheers and love.

Love Day [happy]

Happy Love Day! 

It's this vintage Valentine cute? And I sure would like to label my hubby "All Mine" so everyone who sees him tomorrow will know that  he is ALL MINE! I mean he's pretty hot stuff so I feel pretty lucky to be the one he fell in love with. 

I know there are a lot of people who don't like Valentine's Day, but I'm a fan. Not crazy go all out and buy new jewelry and go to a super-uber fancy dinner kind of fan, but little love notes, heart shaped pizza, flowers, and these cookies kind of fan. 

I think it has to do with the fact that in elementary school I was ALWAYS sick on the day my class had their Valentine's party. 5th grade was the only year I went to school for it and I should have stayed home, but I lied about not being sick [yeahIwasoneofthosekids]. So I never really got to actually hand out the Valentine's I made with the candy heart taped on that I spent hours sorting to make sure they all said the right thing to the right person...[Matt shouldn't get one that said "Go Girl" on it duh!]. I guess I am a fan because I was deprived as a child [stupid flu]. 

But I am not sick this year! So bring on the pink pancakes with strawberries [he gave them to me because they are my favorite], sweet hidden love notes, "make-out" cookies and heart-shaped pizza! 

Cheers to LOVE.
[head here for a good love playlist to download for free]

p.s. if it's just you this year with no sweetheart...give yourself a "love" gift of a pedicure, a day just for you, some flowers, or that cupcake that's calling your name in the window. Trust me, I've been there and sometimes you just have to take all the extra love floating around and claim it as your's. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

[Good Women Project] Check it out!

Alright, I know I have been super MIA most of 2013 so far...don't hate me! I have some excuses:
first there was the holidays, I was in a blogger rut, there has been a lot of crazy happening at work...ok all lame I know, but the point is that I'm back.

Part of my blogging rut was my lack of inspiration and the question of why I keep this blog [all very existential I know]. The past few days, as I have been reading the blogs I regularly follow and discovering some new ones, I realized that I write this to share pieces of my [our] story and the stories of others around me. When I started writing here again shortly after moving to Flag, I had some big dreams for this site...however, I discovered I like simply sharing basic life musings, the occasional DIY, and photos from our adventures here. Those big super awesome dreams will have to be saved for a different site to come later.

That all being said, here is a site that is achieving some big awesome dreams and is working to inspire, encourage, and support women- both young and old- in the adventure called life.... check them out!

To those over at the Good Woman Project, thank you for doing what you're doing and for inspiring me to keep writing and sharing my story. 

To all my readers, I'm back with some new stuff. I promise! 


Thursday, January 17, 2013


Life starts to rush quickly by
picking up pace with each rotation. 
Words, questions, problems 
come tumbling forward, leaving a path
of exhaustion in its wake.


Battle-weary I fall into you. 
You become my breath; 
replacing the tightened chest with a sigh of relief.
You become my heartbeat; 
replacing the rapid flutter with a steady beat. 
Peace washes over me 
as I rest in your protective embrace. 


As the sun fades into night, 
I remain hidden in the folds. 
When the sun returns, 
I arise refreshed,
ready to fight once again.
Be still and know that victory is near.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Music Monday: [light]

Better late than never...there is something about January winter light that makes me fall in love with light all over again...though this season it may have something to do with my prayer for Flagstaff this year. Plus you can never go wrong with a  little Mumford.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013!

Happy New Year from the Haystacks 2.0! Hope it is a good one filled with adventure and blessing!!!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Sorry to have been MIA the past 2 weeks but I will be back with updates from our holidays soon. It's been a busy season but also very fun and joy filled. 

Cheers to 2013!
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