Captain and Poopsie Go to Flagstaff

After a short hiatus from their adventures, Captain and Poopsie are back on the jet setting trail. Captain wanted to show his manliness to Poopsie by riding 100 miles on his mountain bike. As you know, Poopsie likes mountain biking but she doesn’t LOVE mountain biking; at least not the way Captain loves mountain biking.

Captain asked Poopsie to be his support team for the race. Poopsie happily obliged and got to work planning her outfits for the race.

Here’s the initial list:

Ride to Flagstaff

Pearls, cotton T, monogrammed sweater, Bermuda shorts espadrilles.


Capri pants, Tory Burch flip-flops, pin-point Oxford, and diamond studs (I know, I know, but we are going to a “bar” for dinner.) we’re going to Flagstaff not Montauk.

Race Day:

Well, that’s where things changed a little bit. The race got canceled. Northern Arizona has had a considerable amount of rain and the trails were just to wet to take a beating from 4,000 riders.

But that didn’t stop Captain and Poopsie from getting away for the weekend! We kept our our hotel reservations and drove up to Flagstaff anyway!

We arrived in the late afternoon, checked into our hotel and got right on the trail for a quick ride to stretch our legs. Poopsie’s legs were spent from her Barre 3 class earlier that morning but the right was right up her alley: winding, green, and with a full suspension bike, lots of fun.

That evening Captain and Poopsie met some friends at a delicious restaurant called: Criollo.  We had a lovely meal with superb cocktails and delicious food. After that Captain and Poopsie snuggled themselves to sleep.

The next morning, Captain went on an early mountain bike ride with a friend while Poopsie woke up at a leisurely pace. Poopsie knew that this was her chance to get some studying done so she found the Campus Coffee Bean ordered cafe au lait and settled in for a stellar 3.5 hours of studying.

After determining that her brain was full, Poopsie picked up Captain and they had a delicious lunch at Flagstaff Brewing Company.  That beer you see there: Bell’s Oberon!!! The burger: pear, bleu cheese and a balsamic glaze.  It was then determined that a nap was in order. Why? Because the boys are safe are with their wonderful sitter 4 hours away!

We had grand plans to hike after our nap but woke up too late.  We made reservations at a fantastic restaurant called  Coppa Cafe.

That is an Italian Brut Rose and a Chamay Dubbel you see.  I wish I had taken more picturesIMG_2129 because this meal was easily top 5 favorite meals EVER!  From the service to the food, Coppa Cafe was outstanding!  Upon leaving the meal with a dewey glow Poopsie was thrilled after another dining experience with Captain.

The next morning Captain loaded the bikes for one last quick ride.  It was a beautiful morning and Captain was helpful as always with constructive tips to ensure Poopsie’s safety.  However, Poopsie got a little too confident and tumbled over her handle bars.  A few bruises never scared her though.  It’s all part of the experience.

After that great ride, we had to hit the road back to reality.  Though it was only a few short days, the experience was delightful and we can’t wait to do it all again.  Though we love our little maniacs, we need our time away to be a couple.


Meatless Monday: Jeweled Rice Pilaf with Carrots

So, the idea of adding pasta into rice may seem like carb overkill but it sure is tasty. I love multi-colored carrots too. The boys were fascinated by the different colors and asked me to pack it in their lunches the next day!  This recipe comes from the most recent issue of Food and Wine. I served it with lamb chops but you could easily make this fully vegetarian by serving some steamed broccoli and salad.

Jeweled Rice Pilaf with Carrots


1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt


2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

2 1/2 ounces angel hair pasta, broken into 2-inch pieces (1 cup)

2 cups basmati rice

Pinch of saffron threads

One 3-inch cinnamon stick

3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving

1/2 cup chopped pitted Picholine olives

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Spread the almonds in a pie plate. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots with 
1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the carrots until golden and tender, about 15 minutes. While the carrots are cooking, toast the almonds until golden, 3 to 4 minutes; let cool.

2. Meanwhile, in a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the leeks and angel hair pasta, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, saffron and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, until the rice is golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer.

3. Cover the rice and cook over low heat until all of the broth has been absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from 
the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

4. Fluff the rice and stir in the carrots, toasted almonds, lemon juice, olives and parsley. Transfer the rice to a bowl and serve with lemon wedges.

Meatless Monday: Walnut and Arugula Pesto with Papardelle

I know this isn’t eloquent but HOLY MONKEY BALLS this recipe is delicious! Each Sunday I peruse my issues of Food and Wine and create my meal plans for the week. In my August 2015 issue this recipe caught my eye. 

A couple of notes: I used two 8 oz packages of the Trader Joe’s Papardelle. The recipe calls for 12 oz but I pulled some out and put them in a separate bowl for the boys just in case they found the arugula too overpowering. I didn’t need to, the boys loved it!  

Also, I do recommend using a mandolin slicer for the zucchini, but if you don’t have one, slice the zucchini as thinly as you can so that they mimic noodles.



3/4 cup walnut halves

4 cups packed arugula leaves (4 ounces) 

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus shavings for garnish

Kosher salt


12 ounces pappardelle

3 firm, fresh medium zucchini and/or yellow squash (1 1/4 pounds), very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1. In a small skillet, toast the walnuts over moderately low heat until golden, about 
5 minutes. Finely chop 1/2 cup of the walnuts; coarsely chop the rest for garnish.

2. In a food processor, pulse 2 cups of the arugula until finely chopped; scrape into a large bowl and stir in the 3/4 cup of olive oil, the garlic, grated cheese and finely chopped walnuts. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.

3. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the pesto in the bowl. Add the zucchini and toss to evenly coat. Stir 
in the lemon juice and the remaining 2 cups of arugula and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a platter, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the coarsely chopped walnuts and cheese shavings.


Herb Mania

During the down week we had between Idaho and the beginning of school, I decided to buy some herbs and other plants to fill theFullSizeRender pots on my portal. Chase and Andrew were excited to get their hands dirty and help pick them.

They picked two items that I had never used so I did a little research:

Lemon Balm


Did you know you can “calm hyper kids” with lemon balm? I found this handy little website that has great ideas for uses for lemon balm.

Tabasco peppers

FullSizeRender-1Besides the hot pepper sauce, I found that you can make a hot vinegar sauce quite easily.  My friends in Louisiana will be quite familiar with this sauce.

Though a garden is out of the question right now, I am perfectly happy with flowers and herbs…for now

Meatless Monday: Hippie Ranch Dip and a Delicious Blog

Last night I was looking at the August issue of Food and Wine looking for recipes for the week and stumbled across the most wonderful blog featured in “The Artisan Circuit.”

Hannah Messinger’s blog is beautifully constructed and delightful to read. In addition, her photos are superb.

I’ve picked out a few recipes to try so stay tuned! For now though, check out the following recipe that I recently made. It is a healthier dip for fresh veggies sandwiches and just about anything else. Hippie Ranch Dip is another winner from Andrea Bemis’ Dishjng up the Dirt. The boys like it way more than Hidden Valley.

Hippie Ranch Dip

1/4 cup tahini

3 Tbsp H2O or more for thinning the sauce

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup minced dill

1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley

2 tsp onion powder 

Pinch cayenne

Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Mix all ingredients in a food processor or with an immersion blender. 

2. Dip favorite foods in it and enjoy!




I’m Not as Young as I Think I am

I had a humbling experience recently. I started my Kaplan LSAT class, which is being held on the UofA campus here in Tucson.  I now realize I have my work cut out for me. I have very clear deficiencies.  But that’s not the humbling part.


I was a fresh faced 26’year old in this picture

 While sitting with my other classmates waiting for our class to begin, we were all chatting about what studying we had done prior to starting the class. One guy mentioned that he had started the Kaplan course last Spring but then things got busy and his 21st birthday came around and he got distracted and started going to the bars all of the time. 

I wanted to say to him: “So, when you were born, I was a senior in high school.” 

Damn, I’m old.

Most of the kids, yes kids, in the class have either just graduated or are starting their senior years of college.  Plus, my teacher is currently applying for medical school.  All of this means that I am at least 14 years older than everyone else in the class.

When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter. Maybe I can learn a few things from these people. Maybe their fresh faces and nimble brain tissue can be of use to me during this process. Maybe one them can babysit the boys. Just kidding.

I need to remember that just like me, my classmates have the same goal: get into law school. Hopefully, some of them will be classmates of mine next fall.


Meatless Monday: Pasta Salad with Pesto

School is back in session and the kiddos need lunch! We love our school and so happy that we have found a kind, loving and patient place for the boys to learn.

School lunches are a challenge sometimes. The school is not only nut free but animal product free too.  In addition, cold lunches are the only option.  I totally understand why but it still poses a challenge for me at times.

Prohibited Food               Alternative

Peanut Butter                   Sunflower butter

                                            Soy Nut butter

Eggs                                    1 Tbsp ground flax + 

                                            3 Tbsp water

This recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated. If you’ve never heard of this publication, know that it is thorough and reliable. They test and taste recipes of all kinds aiming to make them better!  When making a recipe out of Cook’s Illustrated, you can be sure it will be balanced and delicious.

I’m not usually a fan of pasta salad but I have had a few in my day that are delicious. This is one of them.  Plus, I need recipes that I can send in the boys’ lunches. As you can see, the boys devoured it!

“Better Pasta Salad with Pesto”


3/4 cup pine nuts (exclude if sending in your child’s lunch at a nut free school)

1 lb farfalle 

1/4 + 1 Tbsp EVOO

3 cups packed basil leaves

1 cup baby spinach

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 Tbsp juice from one lemon

1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated

6 Tbsp mayonnaise 

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered, or grape tomatoes, halved.


1. Bring 4 quarts water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Toast pine nuts in a small dry skille over medium heat, shaking pan ocasionally, until just golden and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.

2. When water is boiling, add garlic and let cook for 1 minute. Remove garlic with slotted spoon and rinse under cool water to stop cooking; set aside to cool.  Add 1 Tbsp salt and pasta to water, stir to separate, and cook until tender (just past al dente). Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, drain pasta, toss with 1 Tbsp EVOO, spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and cool to room temperature.

3. When garlic is cool, peel and mince or press through a garlic press. Place 1/4 cup nuts, garlic basil, spinach, pepper, lemon juice remaining cup of EVOO and 1 tsp salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.  Add cheese and mayonnaise and process until thoroughly combined. Transfer mixture to a large serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble salad.

4. When pasta is cool, toss with pesto, adding reserved pasta water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until pesto evenly coats pasta. Fold in remaining 1/2 cup nuts (if using) and tomatoes; serve.



I opened my email this morning to read: August is for Action! I loved reading that phrase. It is from Creative Mornings, an organization that brings creative people together for networking. There is a chapter in Phoenix, but I haven’t  made it up to a meeting. This fall, I plan to. Andrew will be in school full days on Fridays so I am going to make a point of going.  You can check out the website here.

I don’t consider myself to be creative but I do appreciate the creative community. I love art, design and fashion. I have started coloring…I know it sounds strange but it really is fun! It is very calming.

I found this one on Amazon, but I just got an email from Papersource and they have lots of great choices. I also highly recommend Prismacolor pencils, which can also be found on Amazon.




Meatless Monday: Roadted Delicata Squash with Quinoa Salad

Dont get me wrong, I love stuffed bell peppers when they’re done right. But they can be awful and bitter at their worst. Well, I found a wonderful replacement. I had never cooked with Delicata squash, so this recipe was right up my alley.  Plus, my MIL’s neighbor in Idaho has arugula coming out of her ears.


This recipe is super easy and can be made ahead, which is always nice for me because I often have time to make things and pop them in the fridge.

Roasted Delicata Squash and Quinoa Salad


2 Delicata squash (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise and seeded

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons golden raisins

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 Granny Smith apple, finely diced

1 large shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons chopped mint

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 ounces arugula (2 cups)


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and season the cavities with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, until tender.

2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the raisins and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and let cool.

3 In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and honey with the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the quinoa along with the apple, shallot, garlic, mint and parsley and toss well. Add the arugula and toss gently.

4. Set the squash halves on plates. Fill with the salad and serve.


Back to Tucson

Our time in Idaho is coming to a close. We have enjoyed cousin time cool mountain time, and grandmother time.  

The cool grass in the front yard will be sorely missed. My walk into town to study, shop, or go to the library will be missed. I grew up in a small, walkable town so I appreciate what this area has to offer.

The slamming screen door, the clicking of the Aspen leaves, the cool mountain air flowing over my face each morning as I wake up. 

The mountain sensations will be locked away for another year; referenced when the heat of Tucson wears me down.  

It will be nice to be back home in our own space.  Sharing a bathroom with only my husband is ideal. Sharing a bathroom with my boys is a little more challenging.

I can catch up on my Bravo addiction. Although the break has been nice,  I can’t wait to see why Vicki Gunvalson breaks down and hear Luann de Lesseps say: “Be cool. Don’t be all, uncool.”

I know one day the boys will look back on their time here with fondness. I want them to experience the freedom of a front yard and being able to play without the fear of snakes, scorpions or speeding motorists. Right now it is more for me than anything. I enjoy the calm. I enjoy the cool. 


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