Thursday, July 26, 2012

delish home taco bar

earlier this summer i discovered a quick and easy meal to make, that is also healthy and almost entirely gluten-free. Trevor and i were in a rough financial state but needed to make a late lunch for ourselves. i mentally scanned all the recipes i knew of that could make a great lunch but none seemed to fit our budget or tastes (it was a really hot day so we didn't want anything too heavy). i decided that fish tacos would be a quick, easy and delicious solution to our problem; made with pre-breaded, frozen fried fish. it may not be the healthiest or locally made, but its sure easy and yummy. of course, with fish tacos one must have cabbage, so i got the pre-made and bagged chopped red cabbage, for about $1.99. 

grilled zucchini and summer squash

since that first discovery of the easy fish tacos, Trevor and i have made the same when we have friends over, since its affordable and healthy. we also then buy some pre-marinated carne asada, so guests have 2 choices of protein. i also have been making a spicy cucumber salad to accompany the tacos, and last night we decided to include grilled vegetables also. the cucumber salad is super easy to make, with 1 cucumber, the juice of 1 lime, salt and a little Hot salsa fresca.

spicy cucumber salad

the taco bar also includes chopped onion, cilantro, 2 kinds of salsa, avocado, lime and 3 hot sauce options (Cholula brand is best - Chili Garlic, Chili Lime and Chipotle). last night when we made this for some friends, we also grilled some zucchini and summer squash to add just one more healthy side dish. et voila! everyone ate well (mind you, this includes 5 men and myself) and healthy before our bonfire in the backyard. it was a perfect evening!

full taco bar set up, complete with warm corn tortillas, carne
asada, fish and condiments

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

shopping for fresh (like, really fresh) produce

last week Trevor and i missed the Tuesday farmer's market here in Truckee, so we made sure to hit it up this week for the freshest produce around. though the majority of northern California is great for growing fruits and veggies, Tahoe is of course mountainous and thus most plants will freeze overnight. luckily, lots of organic and sustainable farms are right down the hill or even a few hours further in the Central Valley. lots of these farmers come to Truckee, Tahoe and Reno for business so we try to make the most of our local resources. 

"Music" garlic from a local organic farm within
30 miles of Truckee
L to R: artichoke, summer squash, yellow onion, green onions,
yellow squash, leeks, nectarines, strawberries, heirloom tomatoes
this week, we found some of this AMAZING garlic from a local farm just outside of Truckee in a small valley. it is fragrant and soft, just like a perfect clove of garlic should be. its as if every slice of this garlic could be eaten raw and taste better than if it were cooked. at $.75 per pound, the cost is reasonable and in better quality than anything you'll find at the local supermarket (even if its organic).  delicious garlic aside, we picked up a few staples, including green onions and leeks (i love leeks - read about how much i love them here and how to properly clean them). leeks and fresh chevre in an egg scramble is probably my favorite thing to eat for breakfast. we found a giant artichoke for $3 and organic strawberries for $4, from the same farmer out of Watsonville, CA, the berry capital of the U.S. a little fresh summer squash will be perfect as a side dish to our fish tacos this week, nectarines are a great snack, and the heirloom tomatoes will be used for a fresh tomato and balsamic basil salad.
i chop the green onions immediately and store
in a container, to maintain freshness and use only
what is needed at one time

every place i visit, whether in the U.S. or abroad, has markets, and i always try to check out at least one. now that the food supply of the general public is causing more harm than good, the reasons to buy local are more numerous than ever. your health, your childrens' health and the economic well-being of our country depend on fresh, locally grown food sources. if you haven't done so yet, please do yourself and your community a favor and research the importance of locally grown food. "Food, Inc." and "Food Matters" are 2 great documentaries, and The Omnivore's Dilemma by Berkeley biologist Michael Pollan is an incredible book that describes different ways of eating and the benefits of each way. let's all eat local and save the Earth!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the joy of dogs

my whole life, i've been a dog lover. i remember my grandma's dogs from way back when i was a little kid, and everyone in my family has had dogs that i've bonded with also. Chester, Worthy, Molly, Abby, Bailey and Sophie have been some of my favorites. when we were kids, my sister and i got a puppy from the same dog-loving grandma (Dorothy), but he was unhappy and wild and we eventually had to put Teddy down.

Syuky resting on our West Coast road trip,
April 2012
 since losing our own dog as kids, my sister and i have always been nostalgic. she and her husband adopted Oliver almost 8 years ago and he soon became my doggy nephew, who i lovingly ran with and showered with attention until Erin had the first baby 3 years ago. now, i am lucky enough to be with someone who loves dogs the way i do, and has a beautiful yellow lab named Datsyuk (named for Pavel Datsyuk, the Detroit Red Wings player and general badass. yes, Trevor has an obsession with hockey and the Red Wings).  not only did i fall in love with an incredible guy and partner, but i love Datsyuk as my own. we have even started to call him "our" dog! from the time i wake up in the morning and he stares at me with excitement with those big brown eyes until i cuddle with him for a little bit at night, Syuky brings me so much love, joy and happiness i feel sometimes like i might explode. dogs have unconditional love for the people who love them and treat them well, and that is a powerful feeling.
Trevor and Syuky walking through the
Portland Arboretum, April 2012

studies have shown that dog owners are generally happier and more fit people, and rightfully so. i try to take Syuky for a run and/or hike at least 3 times a week, and he knows when its time for that. he is so much like a cute little kid sometimes it kind of just kills me. he makes me laugh, he makes me smile and when i'm sad, he comes to comfort me. i have so much gratitude for him and having him in my life; the kind of gratitude that comes with really special people, animals and places. oh and i guess having Trevor around is good too ;).

if you don't have a dog of your own, hopefully there's a dog in your life somewhere that brings you joy and smiles.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Betty etsy

currently i'm in the midst of setting up and promoting my very own Etsy shop, Boho Betty - KS (BohoBetty was taken already, hence the initials at the end of shop name). since i've been crafting so much and feeling proud of all the merchandise i've made, i decided to open my own Etsy shop to sell my pretty things. for those of you who don't know about Etsy, you should probably get to know about it. check my page out here and feel free to share with others. i've listed only a few things so far but i am very excited to create more jewelry next week and gain even more feedback!

have fun shopping and exploring the magic of Etsy!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

a great day in thrifting

it wasn't in my plans today, but going to the Truckee Hospice thrift store today brought me some good luck and incredible bargains. after the Farmer's Market, where Trev and i picked out some fresh, local, organic produce, i felt like it was worth a shot to check out the thrift store. almost immediately, i found some great jewelry that could be used for my own crafting and jewelry-making (taking things apart to use the pieces in a new way is my favorite hobby - upcycling!). a few minutes later, when i checked out the shoes, i found these incredible flat Børn sandals. if you don't know this European comfort brand, do some research and get to know them. for $12, this was a huge score. i would bet the original retail price was at least $110.
black Børn sandals, red Aerosole sandal wedges (backdrop is
tabletop from Salvation Army in Santa Cruz, 2009)

i've also been waiting for a pair of cute, flat, comfortable sandals to come my way, always keeping an eye out, which is why i had great success today (drawing upon some of the wisdom i shared in my vintage and thrift guide, found here). as i was heading to check out, i spotted yet another rack of shoes and a pair of red leather wedge Aerosoles. again, a comfort brand for only $3! these probably retailed for around $70 (check out that tribal print on the wedge - perfect for my style). 

Monday, July 9, 2012

tiny carbon footprint

Trevor and i planted some Black Krim tomatoes about 2 months ago -- and tonight they were ready to eat! they grew quickly but took a long time to ripen, which made the entire process that much more fascinating. since we also have a Basil plant that's doing really well, we decided to make a caprese salad to accompany our vegetarian meal, since we are both fighting a cold.
raw green beans
i walked to Safeway for the mozzarella (hence the small carbon footprint) and included the salad with butternut squash soup, green beans with butter, and a baked sweet potato that we shared. the green beans were grown within 100 miles and we bought them from a co-op in Grass Valley, about an hour from our house in Truckee. i steamed the green beans and served with butter and kosher salt. it was tasty!

baked sweet potato, butternut squash
soup, green beans and caprese salad
we are so proud of the fact that we grew 2 of the ingredients for our dinner! it makes eating that meal very enjoyable and satisfying. eating locally means helping our planet and maintaining what resources we still have. ideally, we'd all be able to grow all of our own vegetables in the summer months, though living in the mountains makes that much harder. until the next time i can do that, i am resourceful with what i have: a lot of hot sun during the day and a safe place to keep the plants at night when it's too cold outside. growing tomatoes and basil is easy. and super yummy!
Black Krim tomatoes and Basil from our plants, Mozzarella
sourced from Wisconsin (my home state!)