30 Minute Noodle Bowl (Gluten-Free)

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Anytime I’m sick or just craving something to warm me up on a cold winter day I go for pho. If you haven’t yet tried this phenomenal Vietnamese noodle soup, then make that your goal for the weekend. Ask around, read reviews, and find yourself the best pho spot you can!

Since I’m a DIY person through and through, I of course wanted to try a homemade version. The only problem is that traditional pho broth can sometimes take 6-8 hours and in some cases.. an entire day! I definitely don’t have that kind of time in my life right now so I set out to make a speedy version without sacrificing flavor. Not only did I get this down to a cool 30 minutes, but inadvertently made the dish gluten-free as well. Pho is made with rice noodles traditionally, but since the store was out, I picked up mung bean noodles instead. They’re thinner than rice noodles, but similar consistency and flavor.

With these slight changes and sped up process, I didn’t feel right naming it pho, hence the “Noodle Bowl” title instead, but this is a damn close recipe! It’s hearty, yet lean, full of rich flavors and spices, and can easily be adapted for pork or beef instead. And it didn’t take six hours to make!

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The Chile Lemon

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I made this cocktail a few days ago, but it’s quite ironic that I chose today of all days to publish it, being that it’s Wilbur Scoville’s, an American chemist who helped develop a scale to measure the hotness of peppers, 151st birthday. So this one is for you Wilbur!

One of our friends took a trip to New Mexico and came back with a bag of dried spicy chiles for me and I knew that I would put them to good use in sauces, meats, chilis, and soups. What I didn’t expect was for them to inspire a cocktail! Being in the midst of winter here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s been a pretty steady succession of gloom, rain, more gloom, and more rain. While that type of forecast is perfect for sun-avoiding vampires like myself, it can still start to get to you after awhile. To boost my mood I always turn to citrusy cocktails and spicy food, but I figured I would just combine the two this time.

A simple blend of vodka, lemon juice, spicy chipotle chili powder, and honey make for a complex smokey and citrusy cocktail. I topped the whole thing off with club soda for some bubbly and of course garnished with the chiles that inspired the drink! Whether you’re looking to fight the winter gloom and doom or you’re just wanting to liven up your palate a bit, you’ll love this spicy twist!

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Daily Life

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This year I decided to forgo the typical New Years post because I wanted to get a few weeks into 2016 and then evaluate how I felt. Sometimes it’s not just the champagne you’re drunk on during New Years, but the feeling of having a clean slate and starting over. It’s intoxicating to think that you can just leave all the bad and ugly times behind and start anew with high hopes, ambitions, and goals for the next 365 days. All too often though, we set these too high or make too many, which leaves us abandoning most of them by the third week of January.

Unless you moved, started a new career, or had some life changing event happen on New Years Eve.. the reality is that nothing changed on January 1st, 2016, other than the date. We still work the same job with the same wage, have the same house, same health, and same twenty-four hours in each day. So how do we suddenly shake up our lives and get on the path to accomplishing these lofty goals?

I used to hate when people gave me the “Slow and steady wins the race.” pep talk because I’m ridiculously impatient and just want to get where I’m going quickly. Unfortunately we sometimes have to start with subtle changes in order to create substantial ones. So here’s how I’m going to knock out multiple goals in less than an hour each day and thus make 2016 my bitch!

Goals: Lower my stress. Make time for myself. Focus on my health and fitness.

My stress in the last four months has been through the roof. It’s caused issues with my relationships, work, blog, and health. I felt that I didn’t ever have time to relax, focus on myself, or have alone time to recharge. After injuring my knee in September and heading into our busiest season at work, I stopped going to the gym altogether.

How do I solve all of those issues? I’m dedicating 20 minutes a day to do yoga and/or meditate. It lowers my stress level, provides me time to focus on myself alone, and I’m slowly toning up!

Goals: Post on the blog three times a week. Create more. Increase revenue.

This is my toughest challenge as I’m working full-time with hours and shifts that vary quite a bit from week to week. Without natural day light I cannot photograph projects and recipes properly and I’m often so drained after work that I don’t have the spark to write or edit. I’m also not entirely happy with my layout anymore and I don’t like to publish new content on an outdated interface. It’s like hanging fine art work on rotting walls. The content is great, but the background it’s displayed on is less than enticing.

My first step is putting together a game plan for my new layout and then securing the right web designer for the job. I’ll feel much more inspired to create new content having a fresh slate to display them on. Now that the holiday season is over, my work schedule will be more flexible so I can let them know that I need set days off and more evening shifts so I can utilize the daylight for photos. Annnnnd instead of re-watching Game of Thrones or Parks and Rec for the 28th times.. I’m going to force myself to sit down and edit or write for at least a half hour each night.

Of course my goals go on from there, however I’d like to keep my mind focused on these ones first as I believe they can have the greatest impact toward my happiness.. and at the end of the day, that’s always my number one goal.

Let me hear your game plans and goals for the year! How have you succeed in accomplishing them in the past? How do you plan on succeeding this year?




Bourbon Spiked Gingerbread Eggnog with Whipped Egg Whites

Tattooed Martha - Bourbon Spiked Gingerbread Eggnog with Whipped Egg Whites (10)

A bourbon cocktail recipe? I know what you guys are thinking.. I’m normally a rum drinker, but a few weeks ago the wonderful people at Maker’s Mark reached out to me with their #GetCozyCocktail challenge to create a delicious eggnog cocktail using Maker’s 46. With strong notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak and a smooth finish, I had no problem making the switch for this recipe. Oh and guess what? I snuck some rum in there too! The more (booze) the merrier, right?

The gingerbread spin I put on my eggnog cocktail was inspired by a Maker’s Mark recipe for Gingersnap Cookies. I thought I would fuse the best of both worlds by adding some gingerbread spices to my eggnog mix and top the whole thing off with fluffy whipped egg whites. It’s as decadent as it is strong and makes you want to snuggle up in front of a fire or in my case, watch a fake one on TV.. it still counts! Stay tuned to the very end for details on how to make this the winning cocktail!

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Daily Life

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We live in this age where we type out little blurbs about our lives and with one click, share with the world about how awesome everything is. We also get to take dozens of photos of ourselves, choose our favorite one, edit and add filters, and then present this flawless version of who people think we are. My point is that even though I haven’t been sharing a whole lot lately, I’m still guilty of filtering or withholding what’s really happening, thus causing me to be quite dormant on the blog and on social media.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of stress, pressure, frustration, disappointment, and homesickness leaving me unmotivated and too exhausted to write. I kept telling myself that things would change soon and I would have something positive to share instead, but they haven’t and I can’t just continue to remain silent.

I crave balance in my life (go figure.. I’m a Libra), so when my life feels like it has none, I become very unhappy, very quickly. Right now I’m overwhelmed with trying to balance work, friends, family, the blog, and of course this mythical thing called “Me Time.” I put an extreme amount of pressure on myself to keep all of these aspects in my life harmoniously synced, but I’m failing and it adds to the list of nasty feelings I’m harboring inside.

My mental and physical endurance, time management, and problem solving skills are all being put to the test and so far I haven’t been able to keep up. I’m not writing about it because the bad times have passed and I no longer feel those things, I’ve just simply decided to open up, write no matter what, and take things one day at a time. Are you guys ready for weekly Daily Life posts again? If so, speak up! I’ll share the ups, downs, and in-between so long as you’re still hanging in there with me.

Let’s start to switch gears and celebrate the handful of good moments in the past month!

Thanksgiving was not our usual big feast at our place since I had to work later that day, but we were able to spend it with two of our close friends and their adorable two year old daughter. She often plops down in your lap with a Dr. Seuss book and asks you to read to her, gives herself magic marker and ink pen “tattoos,” and upon seeing any photo of my husband, Josh (also nicknamed Bacon), says, “That’s my Bacon!” which is her subtle way of reminding me that he is HER man, not mine! 😉 I’d be lying to you if I said she didn’t give us both major baby fever, but there’s no plans for bacon bits at present time.. sorry moms!

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Then, I don’t know how it happened, but Britnee and I miraculously got her birthday off last Wednesday. We celebrated the much needed day off and her birthday by heading for the coast to picnic, drink lots of wine, and take photos. It felt like a weight was lifted off of my chest as soon as I set my eyes on the ocean, which reminded me how much I need nature in my life to stay sane. We finished the day off with tiki drinks at Trader Vic’s and then several hours of pinball and arcade games at Ground Kontrol.

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Another exciting thing that happened is that the new issue of Skin Deep came out with a feature about the blog and myself! It was pretty surreal to flip through one of the number one tattoo magazines in the UK and see my silly mug staring back at me! It’s also the first time I’ve had one of my recipes published in a magazine! It’s an exclusive so I won’t be sharing the recipe here, but you can get it by ordering a copy or online version from SkinDeep.com. And believe me.. you’ll want it: It’s a Rum Spiked Salted Caramel Milkshake made with.. you guessed it: Sailor Jerry! After taking several long sips I exclaimed, “Oh shiiiiiii… this is way too good!” and proceeded to take down the rest of the boozy ice cream concoction and call that my supper. And while you drink your own dinner you can flip through the rest of the awesome artwork, convention coverage, and interviews!

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That’s all I have for you guys today, but stay tuned for some new recipes and DIY projects!

Quinoa Cranberry Stuffing in Butterkin Squash

Tattooed Martha - Quinoa Cranberry Stuffing in Butterkin Squash (13)

The holidays are always a great time to gather your loved ones to sit down for a huge home-cooked meal, but it does place a tremendous amount of pressure on you to come up with a menu that will appease everyone, including those with dietary restrictions.

Let’s start with one of the staples like stuffing. Typically made with bread cubes and sausage or turkey, and then cooked inside of the turkey. Not exactly gluten-free or vegetarian friendly, so I’ve come up with a delicious solution that combines some of my favorite fall ingredients. A simple mix of quinoa, sauteed kale, shallot, cranberries, and toasted pumpkin seeds baked inside of a butterkin squash that then creates a beautiful and natural serving dish.

It comes off looking elegant and complex, but only takes minimal effort and can even be prepared the night before, leaving you with more time to spend with your guests. While it may not be your traditional “Stove-Top” style stuffing, it provides everyone something new to look forward to at your holiday meals.

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Mini Pear Tarts

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With Thanksgiving approaching we’re all starting to plan our menus, figure out how to squeeze 20+ friends and family members into our tiny homes, how to keep said friends and family members from feuding, and of course trying to keep ourselves sane through all of it!

I’m here to help!

A few weeks ago when I made my Mini Pecan Pies, I doubled my pie crust recipe in case I had extra filling. I didn’t which left me wondering what to do with all this leftover dough. We had pears that had been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks and I knew they would be heading for the compost very soon. I decided to cook them up in some butter, brown sugar, and spices for Mini Pear Tarts!

Warm, sweet, spiced pear filling, buttery flaky crust, and topped off with a healthy dose of whipped cream makes for an amazing fall dessert.. and the best part is they can be made several days in advance! They’ll keep for up to 4 days making your Thanksgiving anxiety diminish by just a bit. Now all you have to worry about is keeping Grandma away from the wine and your weird uncle from taking his pants off before dessert..

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Spiced Caramel Apple Sangria

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Sangria is one those drinks that brings everyone together and since this is the time of year for gatherings and holidays, I couldn’t think of a more perfect flavor for this batch… Spiced Caramel Apple! With each sip you taste the sweet rich caramel, the flavor of fresh green apples, spices, cool crisp wine, and bubbly champagne. Although this makes quite a bit I would still recommend doubling the recipe because it goes quick!

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Floating Fall Leaves Garland

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I would like to formally apologize to November. I’m sorry that you are continually glazed over each year as people remove their fake gravestones and ghosts from their front yard on November 1st and replace them with plastic light up snowmen and Santa figurines. I’m sorry that every store immediately starts playing horrible Mariah Carey covers of classic Christmas carols and replaces Halloween costumes and candy with Christmas lights and stockings. November.. you deserve better.

To keep the fall spirit alive and recognize that November still actually in fact exists, I brought a bit of Autumn inside. The little tree in our front yard recently turned several beautiful shades of orange and I decided to pluck a few bouquets for my own selfish enjoyment. Inspiration struck and I decided to hang them to remind myself that it’s STILL fall. It cost me a whopping total of zero dollars and zero cents since I had all of the supplies on hand and it makes for an elegant and simple decoration until the more appropriate snowflake garland and lights come out.

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Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Smoothie

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Do you ever have those days where you just don’t want to be bothered to put pants on and go to the store? Is that day every day? You’re in good company! On one such occassion I was craving a smoothie and decided to work with what I had on hand for the sake of staying pants and makeup free. I had just baked pumpkin bread and still had plenty of pumpkin puree, a good amount of vanilla Greek yogurt, and frozen bananas. I threw in some spices and topped the whole thing off with a good amount of whipped cream and crumbled graham crackers to make the most delicious fall flavored breakfast smoothie!

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