Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie at Dream A Little Bigger

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It’s the beginning of the year and we’re all being a little bit more conscious about what we’re eating, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing dessert! Now you can have your strawberry shortcake and drink it too with a delicious Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie! Head over to Dream A Little Bigger for my recipe to this protein packed smoothie and indulge that sweet tooth of yours!

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Bacon Jalapeno Monterey Jack Grilled Cheese

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If you’re a close friend or if you’ve been reading the blog for a while then you know I’m a huge Parks and Recreation fan and reference it constantly. Immediately after taking a bite of this cheesy, crunchy, bacon loaded grilled cheese I thought of Andy Dwyer’s bucket list. One of his items was to make the most amazing grilled cheese and I can confidently say that I’ve checked that one off of my own list now! Dunk it into a bowl of homemade tomato soup or enjoy this tasty sandwich all on its own!

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Daily Life

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I finally got a few days off in a row and I took full advantage of them!

On Monday we took on the challenge of the Multnomah Wahkeena Loop Trail which is 5 miles long and has 8+ waterfalls to see along the way. It was so refreshing to get out and hike again, but we were definitely feeling it towards the end!

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And speaking of more pain.. Tuesday we put a few more hours into my leg, but the side and back of the knee is painful stuff though so we didn’t get quite as far as we would have liked to. Only a few more sessions and then we hope to reveal it in its entirety at a tattoo convention the first weekend of March. Annnnd of course I’ll be sharing photos here too! ;)

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Wednesday my girlfriend, Ashley, and I headed west to have a lady date at the coast. We started by checking out Munson Creek Falls, the tallest waterfall in the coast range. Afterward we headed south to have a little beach picnic at Oswald State Park, which is just a few miles down from the beach Josh and I had our wedding ceremony at. We were stranded on a rock for about 10 minutes when the tide came in, but took the opportunity to take a couple hundred photos! It was the perfect way to end my long weekend.

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After seeing so many new places over the last few days, it really made me think about how much exploring in this area that I still need to do. We seem to keep waiting for this perfect moment when the stars align, our schedules are free, and thousands of dollars magically make their way into our bank accounts so that we can take our dream vacation. Instead of focusing on all these places that we can’t seem to make it to just yet, I’m going to focus on the ones that we can. Even if it’s only a day trip, I still always come back feeling refreshed, more positive, and determined than I did before. It’s those feelings that I want to continue to chase after this year.

Where will your travels be taking you this year?


Sailor Jerry Hula Pin Up Cupcakes

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This Wednesday we celebrate Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins’s 104th birthday and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate birthday cake than rum cake! I wanted to keep it simple, but still add a bit of Sailor Jerry flare so I whipped up a rum cake mix from scratch, made cupcakes instead of the traditional bundt cake, and frosted the tops to resemble one of Norman’s most iconic pin ups.. the Hula Girl. While my artistry skill of drawing cartoon cleavage still has a lot to be desired, I made up for it with flavor! The taste of rum is apparent, but by no means overpowering. Just like the rum itself, these cupcakes have notes of vanilla and cinnamon which make for a tasty birthday treat!

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Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup at Dream A Little Bigger

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Winter shows no signs of stopping, but you can combat the cold with a warm and hearty bowl of Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup! Find my recipe at Dream A Little Bigger!


Daily Life

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I meant to write this post yesterday, but still being extremely sick the only thing I could focus on was Netflix and not moving from the couch. I’m feeling slightly better today and hoping this is the last time I’ll be sick for a while!

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Before going any further I would like to wish my wonderful mother a Happy Birthday today! I felt very grateful that I got to spend the last week with her staying up late, playing games, drinking Bloody Mary’s, and just catching up. She’s truly my best friend and I couldn’t be luckier that I get to call her my mother. Enjoy a drink or two after work, Momma Goose! I love you!

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After another great week with friends, family, and new kitties we had to say goodbye on Wednesday. Saying goodbye definitely wasn’t easy and as we found out trying to get home wasn’t easy either! Finally after multiple delays and a plane change we arrived in Portland on New Year’s Eve with just an hour to spare before midnight! We raced to the store and picked up the last few bottles of cheap champagne, snacks, and had a few friends over to celebrate and say goodbye to 2014. Growing up we had a tradition that we would go outside and bang pots and pans and we did exactly that as several other neighbors lit off fireworks and party favors at the stroke of midnight. Next year I hope to not be traveling during this time so I can finally throw a right proper New Year’s Eve party, but our small soirée was just what we needed after such a long and exhausting day.

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Of course this time of year we all feel optimistic and motivated. We have a fresh slate and anything feels possible! Sadly, the reality is that most of us will abandon or forget about our goals by mid-January when we fall back into work and life routines that we were in the previous year. That’s why instead of attempting to tackle my ever-growing bucket list, I’m going to set one small and attainable goal for each month. I might give myself the option of a few different goals to choose from so I don’t feel limited or upset if something arises and blocks one of those goals, but I feel that this is the best way to hang onto that forward momentum you feel at the first of the year. If your dream is to hike to the top of Machu Picchu, that’s amazing, but could also take a while to make happen which can be discouraging. Setting small and realistic goals can help propel you forward on going after those larger (Machu Picchu-sized) goals when you achieve them.

What goals do you hope to accomplish in 2015?

I wish you all a successful and happy New Year! :)

Frosted Cranberry Martinis at Dream A Little Bigger!

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These may look pretty, but they’re packing a punch! Head over to Dream A Little Bigger to get the recipe for my Frosted Cranberry Martinis!

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Daily Life

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Happy Holidays friends!

I’m writing from the chilly woods of Northern Minnesota at my husband’s family’s cabin this week! After nearly 12 hours of travel on Monday (with no sleep!) I finally arrived and have been loving every moment since!

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As you can see, Punk wasn’t too happy about me leaving :(

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It’s been a much needed break from my slightly chaotic routine the last few months. The last few days have consisted of cookie baking, watching Josh paint, and going through old family photos.. which I’d be lying if I said seeing photos of my husband as an adorable chubby cheeked baby didn’t give me a hint of baby fever!

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Today we’ll be making homemade hot chocolate, putting cookie trays together, and preparing a Christmas Eve feast with most of his family. Tomorrow we’ll drive down to Minneapolis to see the rest of his family and then continue on down to Iowa to spend the rest of our trip with my family. I couldn’t think of a better way to end 2014 than to spend it with the ones we love. I’m feeling grateful for everything and everyone in my life right now.. and hey, that includes you guys too!

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I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s! :)


Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix with Sailor Jerry Rum

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For years I’ve been enjoying mugs full of delicious hot cocoa that I had convinced myself could not be improved anymore… then I came across Smitten Kitchen’s Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix recipe and realized I’d been doing it all wrong.. Rich, frothy, chocolatey amazingness so easy to make that there’s no excuse for why you would ever have to buy store bought mix again! It was so good that I didn’t even bother with adding marshmallows!

Of course I had to add my own spin to it by adding a smidgen of Sailor Jerry Rum to the mix itself…  and then a healthy dose into my mug as well. ;) Spiked or not, any chocolate lover will rejoice over this recipe and it makes the perfect last minute gift for your loved ones!

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Gingerbread Rum Balls

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Tis the season to get a little ballsy.. with rum balls that is! My pumpkin spice and chocolate rum balls have been fan favorites for a while now, so for those of you that have already made them, this recipe will be a breeze! Decadent, boozy, and just as delicious as their predecessors, but with a festive gingerbread twist! Be sure to follow the post to the end to see the rum ball gingerbread man I made, as well as helpful tips on how to make the perfect rum balls every time!

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