Tag Archives: memorial day

10 Recipes to Try This Memorial Day Weekend

Who else is looking forward to their holiday weekend? Today’s post shares some healthy summery recipe ideas to try! 

If you’re a blogger that shares a lot of your personal life and adventures, having a blog is like having an online diary of travels and fun (…ya know, a diary that other people read that is!), and sometimes it’s neat to look back at what I was doing at this time in another year.

Floating around an infinity pool in Cabo last year with my hubs

Looking back at past Memorial Day weekends, I went on vacation to Mexico last year (surprised my love for his 30th with the trip!), spent the weekend with friends during a deployment of my hubby’s another year, and went on a wine tasting getaway to Napa and hiked around at Muir Woods when I was living in the Bay Area.

Wine tasting in Napa, circa 2013

This year, I have some fun things planned for Memorial Day weekend, including a road trip up to Los Angeles for a day of hiking + a vegan food festival. I’m excited! I also will be getting some time at home, and I’m sure I’ll be doing a bit of cooking & baking.

Since many of us Americans will be attending family gatherings, relaxing in our backyards, and getting a bit more time to cook & bake over the long weekend, I thought today it’d be fun to share some Memorial Day recipe ideas.

Of course, let’s not forget that the holiday is meant to honor the men & women who have died serving in our military. THANK YOU to all of our service members protecting America.

Let’s get to the food!

1.) Orzo Caprese Pasta Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts & Spinach. This is a recipe I created for Shape recently, and it kind of screams summertime party. It’s a crowd pleaser, and it’s easy to make!

2.) Loaded Mediterranean Avocado Toast [vegan, can be made GF]. AKA the best avocado toast ever! Perfect for breakfast on a leisurely morning, or as appetizers if you’re having guests over.

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Muir Woods National Monument

The first day of our Memorial Day weekend getaway, my hubby and I planned to spend the afternoon exploring the Muir Woods National Park, then head towards our hotel in Napa.

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In the morning, we dropped Harley off at the kennel – which was slightly traumatic because it’s the first time we’ve taken her to a new kennel since moving. Our last kennel was pretty fancy schmancy and was called a ”pet resort” rather than a kennel. In contrast, this kennel is more like a ranch style kind of place where the dogs are allowed to run around together more freely. We were a little worried that Harley would display her typical only child syndrome and snap at another dog for taking a ball or something… but my excitement for our weekend plans overpowered my worry about my pup, and we quickly dropped her off and were on our way towards San Francisco!

From what I’ve heard and seen online, I knew that Muir Woods is a popular redwood forest destination, but I did not expect it to be quite so crowded. Unbeknownst to me until we got there, it was the first day of the popular season at the park, and the tourists certainly came out. When we got into the vicinity of the park, we saw signs saying that the parking lots were full and that we needed to park in an overflow area and take a shuttle to the park.

Once we got to the park, we hiked around for a couple of hours while snapping photos and enjoying the wonder that is redwood trees.

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I thought that the fallen trees around the park were pretty cool. We read that the park monitors tilting trees, and when they think a tree is going to fall soon, they rope the area off and just let it fall on its own.

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A few facts:

  • Redwoods can grow to 379 feet tall 
  • The trees live up to 2,000 years old
  • The forest land was bought in 1905 by a wealthy couple who wanted to protect one of the last stands of uncut redwoods
  • In 1908 President Roosevelt proclaimed the area a national monument

Though there were a ton of people visiting, the park is so massive that it’s pretty easy to get away from the crowds once you get past the entrance – especially once you get on trails that have some elevation. Lucky for us, a lot of people avoid a workout so we were able to wander off and hike to a quiet spot to just sit and enjoy the scenery. 🙂

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Once we had had our fill of Muir Woods, we waited on a long line for the shuttle back. A note about transportation: Even though we were there on a bustling holiday weekend, if we go back to the park again, I definitely think that we’d just try to drive up there and find parking ourselves. I get motion sickness on buses, and it’s a very twisty drive to get to the park. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling so hot getting to and from our car. You also spend a good amount of time waiting for the shuttle and driving only about 5 MPH up hills in it.

We munched on protein bars and lots and lots of sweet cherries during our afternoon (my current obsession!), but were starving for some dinner by the time we got to my car. We decided to try a Greek restaurant we passed nearby called Dipsea Cafe. I ordered falafel with tzatziki for an appetizer, and spanakopita (a spinach and feta filo pie) with Greek potatoes and salad:

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I love Greek food! It was a perfect pit stop before our drive to Napa to fill our bellies.

It’s not surprising that Muir Woods is a popular destination for both American and international tourists alike. I think the park is gorgeous and definitely worth seeing. Visiting Muir Woods was a great start to our little mini weekend vacay!

Memorial Day Snapshots

Hellllooo friends!

I hope that you all had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend. My getaway with my hubby to Napa was awesome! I can’t wait to share some details about it, but right now, I’d like to pay tribute to this day.

Land-of-the-Free

This year I didn’t visit anywhere to honor Memorial Day, but I’ve certainly had the significance of this special day in my mind. I talked about it last year after spending the afternoon at Fort Rosecrans in San Diego, but I think it’s so important to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. It’s easy to go about your daily life and not think too much about men and women who are serving our country and protecting the freedoms that we so often take for granted. Having lived through it as a military wife, I’m often reminded of the daily sacrifices that military families are making at this very moment also because I have so many friends who are serving today. I can’t even fathom what it’s like for all of the military spouses and families out there who have lost loved ones while they’re serving our country.

Today is about honoring those who have paid the ultimate price for our nation. And whether you’re in support of the war currently going on or completely against it, I think it’s important for the people of America to recognize that our military does their best to get a job done and carry out orders, whether they  personally agree with the mission or not. These people put themselves in danger to keep us safe here at home. Today, as the lives of our servicemen and women are remembered, I wanted to share a couple of Memorial Day snapshots that I came across with you:

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”It’s a very important day, not only for the Veteran of Foreign Wars but every veteran organization, every branch of the service, and every patriot in general – every American. This day is hugely significant and should never be forgotten.” -David Olson, 66, of Portland, the VFW’s state senior vice commander (Source: Huffington Post)

Quinoa Salad, A Dog Fight, and Dark Chocolate Dreams

Hi friends! My random blog title is reflective of the mood I am in. Ever feel like your brain is going in 10 different directions? Then you get it! Before I get to my tasty quinoa salad dinner, here are some things I must discuss:

#1 – My Memorial Day evening hike turned out to be pretty adventurous, mainly because Harley got attacked by another dog! OK, attacked sounds sort of dramatic since there was no blood shed, but it was a bit scary at the time.

The situation: We were hiking at the toughest part of Kwaay Paay Summit, where it’s super steep and narrow, and came across a guy with his dog. Harley and I stopped a bit away to see how to go about this, as there’s no way that 2 people and 2 dogs can cross each other at this point in the hike. There’s barely room for 1 person really. The guy hopped up on this little ledge off the trail and picked his Pit Bull up and put him on the side as well. So, assuming we were getting the go-ahead, Harley and I started walking up past these hikers.

As we’re passing them, the other dog lunges past its owner and tries to attack Harley. Now, they say not to get in the middle of a dog fight, but realistically, that’s exactly what your gut reaction is… especially when your only other option is to let your dog go tumbling down a mountain with a dog who has probably 20 pounds on her trying to rip her eyeballs out.

If you can imagine it, I was trying to keep my balance on a tiny awkward dirt path while at the same time trying to break up 2 dogs who are going at it. And let me tell you, my sweet little friendly girl turned into ONE CRAZY BITCH! Her teeth were out all crazy, and she was making these horrific noises I’ve never heard her make before.

In the end, the guy regained control of his dog, and I picked up Harley and rushed past them. When I looked down at her after we were in the clear, she was looking at me like, “Let me at him mom, I can take him!” Yes, I know I personify Harley a lot, but seriously, if she could talk she would totally be saying that. 😉

So, although this was the second most scary thing that’s happened with Harley thus far (the first being her literally jumping out of my car window while I was driving one time…), I have to say, I’m kind of proud of her. It made me gain confidence that she’s my protector who would go all crazy ass on someone who tried to hurt me, and not just roll over to have her belly pet. She’s quite the character!

#2- I came across a jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter at the store yesterday… and I’m already obsessed. If you see this at your food store and like PB and chocolate, you must try it!

#3 – If you’d like to check out a great collection of photos from Memorial Day, check out this. It features MDW photos from around the web, including one from my post yesterday.

#4 – I finally picked up the second Hunger Games book and have started reading it. I love it already! Speaking of books, I’m still refusing to read 50 Shades of Grey for now, as I heard the writing style sucks and am not really feeling all the hoopla surrounding the book. Oh Katniss, how I’ve missed you…

#5 – Last but certainly not least, dinner! Inspired from seeing a prepackaged quinoa salad mix yesterday, I whipped one up for dinner tonight. This salad will certainly give you your fill of produce and vitamins! I used a box of a quinoa blend from the brand Near East, which is a mix of quinoa and brown rice. You could always use plain old quinoa too, but I’m a fan of this mix:

Quinoa Salad

Serves 2

  • 1 box of Near East roasted red pepper & basil quinoa/brown rice blend
  • 2/3 c frozen fire roasted corn, thawed
  • 2 fennel bulbs, chopped
  • 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1-2 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado (2 oz), cut into chunks

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. After you add the spice sack to the pot, add the bell pepper into the mix.

Combine the corn, fennel, tomatoes, green onion, and avocado in a bowl.

Once the quinoa blend is done cooking, remove from heat and stir all the veggies in. Combine well.

This salad will be delish either hot or cold.

Stats per serving: 430 calories, 9 g fat, 12 g protein, 71 g carbs

Off to take Harley for a stroll!

Memorial Day at Fort Rosecrans

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Mine was awesomely fun and a perfect mix of busy and relaxed.

In honor of Memorial Day, I went to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery today for their 112th memorial service. In the address given by a USMC Lieutenant General, he talked about the significance of Memorial Day. To a lot of people, it’s a glorious extra day off of work to lay by the pool, BBQ, get errands done and so on. Many think of it as the official kick-off to the summer. Though it’s all of these things, first and foremost, it’s a day of remembrance. A day to think about all of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. A day to honor those who have risked their lives serving in our armed forces. I hope that amidst your fun today, you took a second to think about this and be thankful for those men and women. Here are a few photos from the cemetery: