12.08.2014

Exciting News!


My dearest and loveliest friends. It is with a heavy heart to announce the ending of Abbie and Erica's Coast to Coast Adventures. Abbie has retired from the blogging world, but that doesn't mean the adventures will stop. I've decided to branch out on my own and continue to share my food, life, and fun on a different platform! I'm really excited about this transition and hope you continue to follow along as I grow and explore. 

My new blog will have the basically the same premise, my life adventures, food projects, meal prep, some books, some vacations, and some stuff in between, but  just me, solo! 

It's name, well, it's Everyday Erica

You can sign up for email alerts when I post something new HERE

All my social media pages are the same, but in case you need a reminder you can follow me by using these links:


I'm still transition all the post from this blog over so it is an easy on stop shop, but some links will bring you back here if that's not done yet.

Thank you all for your love, dedication, and feedback. Hope to see you soon!!

Cheers,

Erica

11.16.2014

Roasted Kabocha Soup with Chicken Sausage and Spiced Pepitas


I just got back from vacaaation! It was so.much.fun. I ran a bucket list marathon and the husband and I stayed in NYC for the rest of the week and explored. We had a blast, but that's a whole other post though!

Before I left for NYC I was going through the taper phase of my marathon training. I call it taper madness. For all my non-runner friends out there, it is a time in training where runners have to...well, taper. Basically slow down and let your muscles repair and rest for the big day. Ugh, its terrible. I had to stop lifting weights, stop doing my strength training, and had to cut back on my mileage. I have a real issue with taper time. All of a sudden there are extra hours in the days and I'm not as tired as I usually am...sounds like a good thing right?! But, after 6 months of training and going non-stop, adapting can be rough. My activities tend to shift from running related to cleaning, organizing and cooking related.


10.11.2014

IFBC Roundup: Days 2 & a wee bit of 3


Ok! I'm ready to share the rest of the conference with y'all. It was a packed schedule, but the gals and I were super excited to get started and learn/eat all the things that we're being offered. 

10.07.2014

Spaghetti Squash the Easy Way (Microwaved!)



Hey there, squash season. Good to see you again! 

There are so many beautiful, delectable squashes out there and tis' the season to eat them all. I'm a huge fan of spaghetti squash, but I have a serious pet peeve about how people describe it. People actually try and claim it tastes like pasta.  Let's not make ourselves a fibber and say it tastes anything like or even comes close to pasta. I mean, if it makes you feel better to think that way, that's cool. But don't try and convince someone else that it is the same thing. Just tell them this stuff is tasty and good for you. Make some this week and share it with a friend. Every one should get on this band wagon. 

Even though I think it is cruel to compare it to pasta, it is great to use spaghetti squash like you would pasta. I love it with traditional meat sauce, olive oil with lemon, salt and pepper, or a little sauteed spinach and garlic. Add some grilled chicken, sausage, or shrimp and you've got yourself a meal.

I usually roast my spaghetti squash in the oven, but hot damn, it has been blazing outside this week!! There is no way, no way at all, I plan to turn on my own until these temps come down. So cooking this squash this way not only saves time, it also keeps the kitchen cool on these hot October days. 

Now that it's Fall, spaghetti squash is every where. Buy one and try it out! Maybe you are lucky enough to 1. have air conditioning and don't mind using your oven (lucky) or 2. actually are experiencing the fall season right now and it is pleasantly cool outside. Where ever you are. Get one cooking...!


Microwaved Spaghetti Squash
Take 1 medium spaghetti squash and carefully pierce it all over with a sharp knife. Place in the microwave and cook on high for 6 minutes. 


Then open the microwave and rotate the squash. Cook again, on high, for another 6 minutes until squash is tender to the touch. Add another minute or so if the squash is big and isn't quite tender at this point.


When it is done, let it cool for a few minutes then cut the ends off and cut the squash down the center.


Scoop out the seeds. 


You'll see the stringy fibers of the squash underneath the seeds. 


Take a fork and scrape the squash. Season and add toppings to your liking.


Cheers!

Erica

9.28.2014

IFBC Roundup: Day 1


I took a little break from training last weekend and scooted up to Seattle for a quick visit with my dear blogging bests and also to attend the International Food Blogger's Conference put on by Zephry Adventures. I've only been to one other food blogging conference before and I have to say, they were pretty different in comparison. They were both good, just different. Food Buzz seemed to be more focused on the food part, stuffing your face, and networking whereas IFBC had tons of delicious food, but also had several breakout sessions all related to either food, tech, or writing. I was actually really excited about the breakout sessions and eager to learn some new things to help grow the blog and improve my writing in general. There were pluses and minuses about the presenters and the content, but overall, I think the information I learned was pretty useful for my future blogging efforts. 

So, here's a bit of the weekend, mostly my favorite parts, in a few words and lots of photos (I took over 300!).

9.23.2014

Homemade Sweet Potato "Gu"

If you've been following along with me the past few months, either by the blog, Facebook, or Insta, you know I am training for something huge. 

A bucket list item. 

The New York City Marathon!!



9.08.2014

Preparing for the International Food Blogging Conference

In just over a week, I'll be packing my bags and heading out to Seattle for a few days. I am crazy excited because I've wanted to get up to Washington for some adventures since we moved to the West Coast three years ago. 


So what's bringing me to the Pacific Northwest? 

Food. Of course.


I'm headed to the International Food Blogger's Conference (IFBC) organized and hosted by Foodista.com and Zephyr Adventures!

Now, this is my second time going to a food blogger event and if it is anything like the first one, I know I am going to be drinking, eating, and talking a lot. The last time, I had no idea what I was in for, so at least this time around I can prepare a little bit better and share some tips on how I am preparing. 

You know me, I am a planner...

Things to bring and pack:
  • Cell phone with an extra battery and/or charger
    • You'll be using your phone a lot to take photos, jot down notes, finding places to eat/drink on your down time, and directions. Your battery can get drained pretty fast, so be prepared. 
  • Camera with an extra battery and/or charger
    • Some folks might just be using their phones for photos, but I love my big camera for better quality photos
    • Bring your USB cable to upload photos to you computer if you bring it
  • Computer or Ipad + Charger
    • On your down time you can upload content, photos, or blog about the events
  • Pen and Paper
    • I love my Moleskin and usually carry it around in my bag. It is small enough to tote most places (and not have to plug in). 
  • Comfy shoes and comfy clothes
    • Check the weather to see what you've got going on and pack accordingly. It is just a weekend trip, so I don't plan to check a bag so I am going to lay out some outfits that I can mix and match. Layering is always a good idea, so maybe pack a sweater or two in the event it gets chilly. I have these Athleta pants I adore and plan to dress them up and down. They are so incredibly comfy (and stretchy). 
    • Check out Travel Fashion Girl for some great tips too. 
  • Meds and Quick Fixes
    • Make sure to bring a small supply of Motrin/Tums/Excedrin to help in case of a pesky headache or some form of ingestion because there will be so.much.food. 
    • Band Aids or Moleskin for your feeties. Don't let blisters slow you down. 
  • Business cards
    • This is a big networking opportunity and you'll want to have your brand and name handy. Vista Print or Moo are good resources to get some printed. 
  • An extra bag
    • SWAG!

Onto the actual preparation for the conference and visit
  • Check out the schedule and make an agenda
    • There is a lot of content available at these conferences. Take a look at what is being offered and rank the things you want to do/see/learn/taste the most. It will help you prioritize and not feel flustered once the time comes to actually go. 
    • Some things that are on my radar:
      • So, How Did it Taste? This is a writing session to help figure out some new techniques on writing and describing food with author Dianne Jacob
      • Professional Recipe Development with Shauna James Ahern, the Gluten-Free-Girl. I always struggle with making a recipe my own so I am hoping this is really helpful. 
      • Know Your Beef, Know Your Butchery: Cut Education Session with the Beef Checkoff @Beef and the Discover The World Of Wine with Bordeaux Wines session. Because, duh. 
  • Check out the brands
    • There are a TON of brands and sponsors at these events. Pick a few you don't know anything about and learn something about them, where they come from, and what they are all about. When you visit their booths, it is a great conversation starter. 
    • The Key Note speakers on Saturday are the Authors of The Flavor Bible, so I checked it out at the library to browse through it before I hear them speak. 
Have you been to Seattle before and have any must see suggestions? What are you conference travel tips? Have you been to IFBC before? What was your favorite part?

See you soon Seattle!

Cheers,

Erica



9.04.2014

August Adventures.

So August just happened. That was that. 


I started out the month with some HOGA with my lovely. Seeing the city this way is so much fun. 

8.20.2014

Coconut Popcorn Trail Mix


You guyyys. This is one of my very favorite snacks. It is so easy and a little addicting, but healthy at the same time. I'm a big fan. 


A while back I posted my coconut popcorn, which has become a staple in the house and it is husband approved. Friend approved. And me approved.

Approved all around.


This is coconut popcorn all jazzed up.


Most of the time, when I am making a batch of popcorn, I just make a little extra so I can make this trail mix for the week.




Also, popcorn salt. Not necessary, but so necessary.


Any way, this is a perfect sweet and salty snack when you get those stupid 3:00PM sluggies.

(Sluggie = acting effectively like a slug because you are so out of energy).



Coconut Popcorn Trail Mix
This slightly addicting sweet and salty healthy snack will help get you through the day.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons popcorn kernals
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup dried, unsweetened coconut chips, toasted
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted cashews
  • 2 tablespoons roasted, salted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
1. Start by toasting your coconut. Add the coconut to a skillet on medium heat. Toast coconut until golden brown and stir to cook evenly. Watch closely as this can burn quickly. 

2. Next, make your popcorn. I use an air popper, but you can use the stove top method as well. Once it is popped and hot, add the melted coconut oil and coat thoroughly. Use your hands if needed and salt generously to taste. 

3. Let the popcorn cool for 5-10 minutes then add the apricots, cashews, sunflower seeds, and chocolate. 

4. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. 

If you don't like apricots, go ahead and switch them out with whatever dried fruit you desire. Same with the seeds. Make it own and enjoy!

Details:
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings























Cheers,

Erica

7.31.2014

July Adventures


July Life. What can I say...you were full of running and eating. Per usual. This will be life until November. I am totally OK with that.

7.01.2014

June Adventures.

Since I got back from Florida, June has been non.stop.go.time. What happened? I was waiting for summer then BAM! July hits you right in the face. I'm just going to stop for a second a savor the month as I go through these pictures because before you know it, Target is going to put up Santa decorations and I just can't handle that yet.

So, here's my June life. Enjoy!


6.23.2014

Almond Butter Stuffed Dates


This has got to be one of my all time favorite snacks. I honestly don't know where I came up with it. I was probably tooling around my kitchen and looking for a sweet and salty treat (maybe feeling like I shouldn't eat straight from the almond butter jar too) and came up with this heavenly combo. 

I use dates all the time in the kitchen to sweeten up things. I usually add one to my almond milk, often throw one in my smoothies, I even chopped them up for some sweetness in over night oats. They are such a great alternative when my sweet tooth starts throbbing. 

These stuffed dates so rich and totally satisfying, you'll only need one or two to fill you up. They not only manage to curve my sweet cravings, but also give me great boost of energy. I use almond butter most of the time, but they are equally amazing with sunflower and peanut butter too. I sprinkle a little sea salt on top of mine before I devour them, but I was eyeing the toasted coconut the other day thinking that might work too!

This snack is healthy, chewy, sweet, and salty all rolled up in one. 

First, start by grabbing some dates from the market. 


Pitted or depitted, doesn't matter.


 If you've got a pit, carefully sliced the date down the middle and fish it out.


Open the date up a bit and spread about 1/2 teapsoon - 1 teaspoon of almond butter in the middle for each one. 


Sprinkle with sea salt, toasted coconut, or even cinnamon and enjoy!


I tend to pack these for a little pre-workout boost or sometimes in my lunch for that pesky 3:00 crash. 


Cheers!

Erica

6.16.2014

Grilled Radishes with Arugula, Mint, and a Greek Yogurt Dressing


Not having air condition can be a problem sometimes. Typically its not a big, big deal, but there are always a few times during the year where I can't function because it is so damn hot. During those days, I hate, I mean HATE, turning the oven on. I pretty much refuse to turn it on actually. Even using burners are painful because they give off a fair amountof heat. This presents a major problem for me since being in the kitchen is my happy place. 

My solution: THE GRILL!! I try and stick anything and every thing on that bad boy when the temperatures go up. I'm talking meats, veggies, fruit, even bread (because grilled bread is amazing by the way).  

This go around, I tried my hand at grilled radishes! I always felt like radishes had more potential then in my salad. They almost turn potato-y when they get all hot and charred. Delish.  


I tossed them in a little olive oil, garlic, and rosemary mixture and seasoned them up with salt and pep. 



Little jewels here just waiting for the grill to get hot. 


I let them cook about 7-10 minutes on a medium heat, then tossed them around a bit. 


Let them cook a little more, maybe 5-7 minutes and your done. 


Toss them in a little arugula and fresh, chopped mint and you've got a lovely summer side dish. I added some chicken sausage and lemony brown rice to make is a full on feast.  





Grilled Radishes with Arugula, Mint, and a Greek Yogurt Dressing
Toss these little jewels with rosemary and garlic and grill them up for an easy side dish!
Ingredients
  • 1 bushel radish
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove, minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon, chopped rosemary
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup, chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
1. Pre-heat a grill over medium heat.2. In a small bowl or ramenkin, combine olive oil, minced garlic, and chopped rosemary. Set aside. 3. Prepare the radishes but cutting off the greens and washing them thoroughly. 4. Half or quarter each radish, depending on the size5. Combine radishes with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil mixture and toss so they are all coated.6. Cook the radishes in a grill pan or over a piece of foil for about 7-10 minutes depending on how hot your grill gets. Let them sit there so they get a little brown and caramelized, then toss them and cook for another 5-7 minutes.7. Combine arugula and mint and once the radishes are cooked, toss to combine. 8. To make the dressing, combine the yogurt, lemon, and remaining olive oil mixture and stir until it is all incorporated. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle on top.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4


Cheers,

Erica

6.08.2014

May Adventures


Oh, hey there. Yeah, its been a bit since I've posted. I know. 

Its not that I haven't been cooking, baking, running, and such, because I have. I started my marathon training and its been an adjustment to add that back into life while continue to blog. I also just took a little vacation back to Florida, so I am just getting back to my routine. To get back on track, I'll start by sharing my May life. Better late than never?

5.12.2014

Strawberry Basil Pops


It hasn't been too, too hot here in Northern California yet, but I can feel it coming. It has been pretty perfect actually. I feel spoiled. There, I said it! But I am headed to Florida at the end of the month, and know it might be rough. Hot + Humid = Ugh. I'll just dream of the beach and not complain (after this.)


5.03.2014

April Adventures

Good bye April, hello MAY! We are one month closer to summer people. Can you feel it? But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's look at my April life...


Stumbled across a book sale...in a basement. Kinda screams kidnapping scenario right? It was safe and I bought lots of books. 

4.30.2014

Homemade Pantry: Taco Seasoning


Cinco de Mayo next week! We need to get taco ready ASAP.

I don't know if you've noticed, but I like to make a lot of stuff from "scratch." I mean, we started doing this back in college with beer, so now it has just evolved a bit. I am all about making my own stuff. Everything from almond milk and granola, to pesto and tahini. If I can make it at home, I try to.


There is something amazing to me about taking the time (if you have the time it at least) to really learn about the things you eat.  I've found by learning more about the ingredients that make up my favorite foods and actually making them myself, I've grown to appreciate the process more and the food more. The more I make my staples at home, the easier it becomes to have it on hand all the time. Plus, I truly think it tastes better and makes me feel better. But, that's just me.


On that note, one of my very favorite pantry items is taco seasoning! Put that packet stuff DOWN! Yes, it is easy to pay $1.50 and pick up a packet of that stuff, but have you read the nutritional label on the back?? What is that in it any way? This homemade batch is not only better for you, but you probably have everything in your spice rack already, so seriously, why not.

I've used this with chicken, ground beef, and fish. You can adjust the heat level easily by putting more or less cayenne in the mix. Or if you like it a bit more smokey, add more smoked paprika. Not a fan of coriander, sub it out for something else. Simple as that. The salt level is such that I don't salt the meat as I'm cooking since the mixture has enough already. If you salt your meat, cut the salt down by 1/4 teaspoon. 


To make this easy, you could make a few batches and store them in zip lock bags or a resealable jar. It will taco night even simpler. I typically use one serving of the seasoning per 1lb of beef or chicken. 




print recipe
Taco Seasoning
Most likely, you have all these spices in your cabinet now. Customize this to add or take away whatever spice you like and go for it!
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon papkria
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
Instructions
Mix all the spices together until well blended and combinedAdd the spice mixture to any desired protein (ground beef, chicken, fish etc) along with 1/3 - 2/3 cup of water Cook on a low heat until the sauce has thickened to your desired consistence. Add more liquid for a thinner sauce
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1/3 cup

Cheers and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Erica

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