Goodbye, Margaritaville

If there’s one drink I seem to love (too much on our vacation!) it is the margarita.

My favorite is not sweet really.  It’s puckery and refreshing.

A friend gave me a clue on how to make one – called a Perfect Margarita – which has Cointreau, fresh juices of lime, lemon and orange and, oh yeah, TEQUILA.

That was about a year ago.  OK, maybe TWO years ago.

She was a bartender and I’m betting she was well tipped.

I have since turned into somewhat of a connoisseur (read snob) on what I like the best. I even recognize the names of tequila and which one is my favorite.

I ALSO researched how to make my own tequila because it was so dang expensive I figured I could save on family finances by making my own little still.  Randy watches the Moonshiner show often so it helps when you see how simple it is.

For the record, it’s NOT that simple at all plus you cannot even call it tequila (according to Mexican law) if it isn’t produced in a small part of Mexico called Jalisco.  If my memory of my father’s side of the family is correct I’ve got roots there.

It’s a plant called BLUE AGAVE.   Surprise!!  (it was for me anyway)

Now onto why I’m saying GOODBYE to my most favorite drink.

I’ve been tasting margarita’s EVERY day on my vacation so far.  Mostly out dining.  I should have kept track of where and the type I ordered and if I liked it or not just for kicks.

Real quickly I can remember the Patron Margarita at Chili’s was pretty dang good.

The problem with dining out is, THE FOOD IS AWFUL.

I’ve gone from preparing our meals every day (except breakfast) to dining out for Lunch and Dinner almost every day.

Randy’s been dropping hints about his 2016 Jan plan.  “I’m going to eat RAW for 30 days.” He must have mentioned it 30 times since Thanksgiving.  I didn’t reply with much other than, “that’s great”.

I figured he NEEDS me to do the challenge because that guarantees a good raw meal prepared by me most of the time…I’m the cook in the house.

I’m vegan (99%) as well and love the flavor of all of the vegan creations I make at home.  Most dining out places are too saucy, heavy, salty, sweet…I like to control what goes into the meal more and use spices.

I recently ordered a new (to me) spice called VINDALOO.  Can’t wait to make something with it.

Yesterday Randy basically “closed” me to join him on the challenge. UNPROCESSED FOODS.

Now with my husband it is important to clarify what things actually MEAN to him.  I suggested he look over already-established menu/diet plans rather than try to come up with something that he has to create every single day.

That left two options on the table:  Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Diet or Chef AJ’s Unprocessed Diet.

We looked over the recipe ideas in each book.

Chef AJ’s Unprocessed Diet is the WINNER.

The planning has already begun.  We should poltergeist the kitchen actually.  (Note to self: he’s out on a run, get that done while he’s gone).

Starting Jan 1st we’re ON and we’re jazzed up about it too.

A Blog was created for it:

Screeching tire sound…


We already had our coffee and breakfast.

Randy: 2 large cups of black coffee. Breakfast burrito: 3 eggs, half avocado, potato
Sarita: 1 cup of coffee with coconut creamer. Corn flakes, fresh blueberries, 1/4cup granola and 2T dried cranberries in almond milk.

Lunch:  I threw together a vegetable stew and some funky corn bread. It was delicious (and warm).  We’re anticipating RAIN and soup always goes well with rain.

We will be adding a WEIGHT LIFTING DAILY ROUTINE to our Unprocessed Challenge as well.    Even a little is better than none, I guess.  Our lives are so busy I don’t know how we will actually make this happen.  Oh, and I’m walking/running and he’s running in preparation for a big race in May (Miwok 100).

I realized for me the big changes are going to be the eliminations:  coffee and alcohol.

But I’ll keep my 10 lb weight gain fresh in my mind and hopefully it will help.

We gather our stats (body fat, BMI) later today.

I think we’re going to do BEFORE photos.  No, those will NOT be posted!


6 Berry Fluffy Pancakes

IMG_5058Christmas Day 2015
6 Big Berry Fluffy Pancakes (with vegan alternatives)
(print Big Berry Fluffy Pancakes)
Gather your ingredients together BEFORE you begin creating these magical pancakes.  Follow the instructions exactly to get a perfect stack of pancakes.  We cooked and ate them one at a time because they were so perfect off the griddle hot and crispy on the edges.

(Where there is a non-vegan alternative I’ll include it in parentheses).

To get the best possible flavor, go for HIGH QUALITY ingredients.  It is not true that organic choices must cost more – find a local farmer’s market (buyer beware of fast organic claims – you will know when you taste it), certified organic delivery service (like Abundant Harvest Organics) or farm to table system if you can (that’s where you get the best prices.)  Organic food does NOT need to look fabulous – it needs to taste fabulous!  One ugly blueberry might knock your socks off.

wire whisk
mixing spoon
big bowl
measuring cups and spoons

1 cup of organic blueberries
1 cup of raspberries
1 cup of strawberries cut into bite-sizes
Maple syrup (Randy likes his warmed up)

2 cups – whole wheat organic flour
2 tablespoons – vegan sugar (or regular white sugar)
1 tablespoon – baking powder
⅛ teaspoon – pink himalayan salt
¼ teaspoon – coconut oil (for cooking the pancakes on the griddle)

¼ cup – cold  and just out of the fridge Earth Balance organic butter (or regular butter)
1 ¾ cups – Trader Joe’s non-sweetened original almond milk (the pink carton)
⅓ cup – rice milk
(the above could be switched out with regular milk)
1 teaspoon – Madagascar organic vanilla (Penzey’s spices has a fabulous option)

First rinse and chop all of your berries as instructed.  You can combine them or keep them separate (in case you like one type of berry more than another).

Now get the griddle heated up with a medium heat.

In the large bowl use your sifter and combine all of the dry ingredients.  With the wire whisk blend well.

Add the COLD butter in little bits then blend it with the wire whisk chopping and blending until the butter is in little bits (this takes a little time).

Add the COLD milks and vanilla then stir with a regular stirring spoon.

The mix is a bit stiff which is OK.  When you begin cooking the pancakes the butter will melt.

Spread the coconut oil where you will pour then take ⅓ cup and measure out mix onto griddle.  Wait for bubbles to appear through the whole cake and then flip.  The second side doesn’t need as much time cooking so pay attention.

The edges will be crispy and the cake will rise before your eyes!
Serve up with berries on top and syrup if you wish.

Merry Christmas!


We have plates created by our kids that are super special.  While your kids grow up be sure to have them make things that will always be a good memory for you.  We lost our daughter Amanda but now have this adorable plate to use every day.  Things like this will be special forever and ever.

Birds vs Bieber


Walking, running or hiking the trails is a getaway for me.

For the last 10 years I’ve been lucky to have a “job” that requires I get up at 4:00am and go out on the planet.  It’s California so the weather doesn’t really change that much.

It’s a peaceful place when most everyone is asleep.    Then there’s daybreak.  Magic.  I’m telling you: pure magic.

It’s a gift, I appreciate it.

My “job” also requires I’m out running around on the planet at sunset everyday as well.

Another gift.

I personally prefer sunrise and I guess it is because of the noise (or lack of it) at that time.

I believe getting humans out onto the planet LOOKING AT IT, SMELLING IT, TOUCHING IT – enjoying every element of it – will bring Peace.

We need to leave behind the electronics and explore the planet.  For our health.

Most people out on the trails agree with me.  They are there to unplug and maybe find some peace (and quiet).

Which is why when I hear a runner bombing down a trail with a backpack blasting Justin Beiber I want to SCREAM.

It’s NOISE POLLUTION.  No matter what genre is being played.

That was at Wildwood Park.  Have you been there?  Another magical experience for me and the first time I’d been.  There are dry patches with cactus leading down to a creek flowing through with shade and lush green foliage.

Why are you out on the planet with your ears covered?

You  are missing out on a GIFT that you cannot find anywhere else.  The sound of our planet.

How in the WORLD would you think everyone would want to hear Justin Beiber BLABBER instead of chirping birds, rustling leaves, the wind under a bird’s wings, the sound of running water through rocks!?

Put your freaking headphones on.  Keep your music to yourself and let those of us trying to ESCAPE it have PEACE.

I’m glad you are out on the planet and I hope you are a good person.

Maybe you don’t realize your music is nice but taking away from others’ experiences?

We headed back up the trail with our dogs back to the car.  Time to go home (and get Morgan’s update).

Entering the trail were five young men.  One wearing a backpack blasting foul language rap music.  They were friendly kids and they were heading out onto the planet.

I guess I can’t have everything just fall into place.

I’ll keep wishing though!

Morgan Monday’s

IMG_0046Our daughter Morgan is part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – aka the LDS Church. We are not and I never have been.

They send kids on mission.  2 years for the boys and 18 months for the girls.  The mission purpose, I’ve learned, is to get more members into the church.  They do this by going door to door talking to people and I think they give bibles out too.

(As a side note: if you are ever visited by a Missionary please offer them water, at least.  You don’t have to listen to them – but know they are all really nice kids and it is likely they are thirsty.)

She “signed up” for this task early this year, followed all of the rules and guidelines, had all of her Bishop Interviews and was accepted.  That was in July I think.  We would know where her mission would take her in September and have a few days to spend with her before she took off for 18 straight months.

I’m not LDS.  All I’ve learned about LDS has been from my husband (who served as a Missionary in Guatemala for two years when he was 19), Amanda (Shoemaker) and Morgan.

I was VERY against this idea for Morgan.  More scared than anything else. It all sounded like a part of my life I would hope to avoid and DEFINITELY not put my daughter or son through.

We will not be able to speak to Morgan during this 18 months.  At first I was told there would be a call on Mother’s Day (to her mother, not me I assume) and Christmas.

Being a good Libra, that was immediately and easily noticably UNFAIR to Randy – her father.  Why not Father’s Day?!

But it is not my place to boss the LDS church and I have no idea why that would be the way it is.  Add this non-nonsensical idea to the mountain of them that seems to be a part of every organized group (church, business, team…anything requiring “rules”).

Monday is the day we get an email from Morgan!

We hover around our computers all morning looking forward to the latest installment of her adventure.

I sent her off with a personal note telling her a bit more about what happened to me, just to get her to see what can happen when you allow someone to be the boss of your destiny.

She’s old enough to have some real-world experience and has had the taste of freedom to roam earth.

It’s Monday December 21st, 8:05am.

Vegan Pumkin/Pecan muffins just out of the oven and we’re ready to be dazzled soon.

Dogs Detecting Cancers

Family of Sarita and Adelita - 2_0054My little sister is a Dog Whisperer (read: trainer).  She’s always had a soft spot since before I can remember as a kid.

She told me about this concept at the end of 2014, having been connected through someone in the Los Angeles Area that is specializing in cancer detection through k9 noses.

Pretty special. And so is my sister.

Dogs detecting cancer – amazing video here.

UPDATE:  she will be training dogs on this!

Tuesday Muesli

Tuesday Muesli - YUM!
Tuesday Muesli – YUM!

Made a meal plan and so far I’m sticking to it.  Did my shopping and planning on Sunday.

It’s the ONLY WAY to do it – no matter how much I fight it.

This morning I made Muesli with what I had in my cupboard
(3 servings)

Part 1

1 C Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free Oats
1T flaked coconut
Chopped the following lightly:
1T raw pecan
1T raw cashews
2T raw walnuts
1T flax (ground)
2T raw almond

Part 2
1/4c dried cranberries
½ banana – sliced and chopped (to spread the sweetness)
3 large strawberries, chopped
½ apple chopped (skin on)
1/2t flaked coconut (on top of the above you bake)

Almond Milk
Drizzle of REAL maple syrup


1) Turn on oven, set to 350.  Set rack to the middle/lower portion of oven.

2) Prep an edged cookie sheet with parchment paper.

3) Place all Part 1 in a big bowl and blend with a fork.  Toss a lot.

4) Spread on cookie sheet.

5) Don’t wait for oven to be ready (preheated).  Bake for 3 minutes and then toss (I take the sheet out and lift the parchment edges and that seems to move it around nicely).  Place back in oven and bake for another 3 minutes.

6) Coconut will brown fast, don’t leave this alone or your’ll ruin it all.

7) Remove and place in a big bowl.

8) Scoop out 1/3c for a “serving” and add Part 2 on top.

9) Once you’ve got both parts in your bowl add milk THEN drizzle maple syrup.

You could put this on top of plain yogurt too.

Approximately 400 k/cals for a serving (depending on your toppings and whether you use nut, rice, dairy milk or yogurt)

Serving size 1/3 cup of Part 1.

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