Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vegetarian Tostadas

After I made that yummy Taco Bell wanna be sauce, I knew I had to use it for more than just eating like soup.  I wanted to make bean burritos, but gluten free tortillas just never seem to want to be made into burritos.  They are always cracking and falling apart so you end up with a burrito in your lap instead of in your belly.  

I needed a quick dinner, so I ended up deciding on bean tostadas.  

I took my gluten free tortillas, crisped them up in the oven.  Then I topped them with refried black beans, an extra generous portion of the sauce, and then topped it with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and avocados.  After I took the picture, I dumped on at least 3 gallons of the sauce, but didn't want to show that my finished product looked like a crime scene....which may be ok, since Halloween is this week, but not very appetizing to stare at. 

Vegetarian Tostadas
2 brown rice tortillas
Your choice of oil or cooking spray
1 can refried beans
Taco sauce
Assorted veggies (lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, olives, jalapeƱo slices, onions, bell peppers, etc)
(Non-dairy) Cheese and sour cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 400.  Brush or spray tortillas on both sides with oil or cooking spray.  Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes until crispy.  You can turn them halfway during cooking but it's not completely necessary.  Be careful to watch the tortillas closely because they will finish suddenly and will go from done to burnt in what seems like half a second.  

While the tortilla is cooking, heat your beans, chop up your veggies, and get out any other toppings you may want.
As soon as the tortillas are done, put them on your dinner plate.  Spread each tortilla with half the beans.  Top generously with sauce.  Pile on your toppings and then finish with more sauce.  
Enjoy right away or your tortilla will get soggy.  Enjoy!!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

At the end of the week, we sometimes find ourselves with a banana or two left on the bunch that are too mushy to eat.  I used to throw these away, until I found out that you could throw a whole banana in the freezer and then later use it for baking.  Then, when you are ready to bake, just thaw the banana on the counter for a couple hours, or microwave it for a minute. No waste!

Don't toss me!  Freeze me and make me into yummy breads and muffins!!!

Now that I am eating with so many restrictions, I rarely bake anymore.  It's not that fun to make something that you can't enjoy or even taste test to make sure it's edible.  But, I still will occasionally bake for Dave, and make some extra for each of us to share with our co-workers.  

When I am making food that I cannot eat, I tend to stick to recipes that have been in my family for years.  Recipes that I grew up making with my mom and grandma.  I know they will turn out great every time without even tasting it! Although I now use as many all-natural and/or organic ingredients as possible in every recipe I make, this can me made with non-organic ingredients as well.   I love making this because I get to bring out my pink Kitchen Aid stand mixer!!!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 2/3 c. organic sugar
2/3 c. organic, non-hydrogenated shortening
2 large organic eggs, pastured if available 
1 tsp. organic vanilla
4 overripe bananas, mashed
2 1/2 c. organic unbleached white flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. organic cinnamon
2/3 c. organic buttermilk
1 10 oz bag organic chocolate chips

Cream together sugar, shortening, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix in bananas.  Add flour, baking soda, and cinnamon and stir until just combined.  Then mix in buttermilk and chocolate chips.  

Spoon batter into 2 greased loaf pans.  Bake at 350* for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool and remove from the pan.  Store in a covered container for a day or two on the counter, or longer in the fridge or freezer.

Can also be baked as muffins for 20-25 minutes.  I used my mini loaf pan from Pampered Chef and it took about 50 minutes to bake.  One recipe was enough batter to make 5 mini loaves.    


Friday, October 26, 2012

Recreating Childhood Treats

Although I don't eat fast food anymore, one thing I will always have a soft spot for in my heart are Taco Bell bean burritos.  When we were growing up, we didn't have much money for extras, especially after my dad died.  Mom would occasionally get us lunch out, which was a huge treat.  Usually it was 39 cent tacos and bean burritos.  You could feed four hungry kids plus mom for about $5!

I was excited when Taco Bell came out with their grocery store line, but was dismally disappointed when I saw all the ingredients.  What are "natural flavorings?"  Usually MSG?!?!?!  Ick! 

I've tried to recreate it at home, but never had good results.  I'm guessing it's because I don't keep a stash of "natural flavorings" in my kitchen.

Then, a few days ago, I found a recipe to recreate those childhood memories.  Yum Yum Yum!  I made it right away.  Hubby declared way better than Taco Bell and said that it tasted way better than something you could buy in a jar from the store!

So if you are like me, and are eating healthy, but still have the occasional cravings for your favorite chidhood treats, go visit Peas and Thank You and make Momma Pea's recipe for  

While you go make this...I'm going to go back to my bowl of sauce which I will be eating like a bowl of cold soup...

What favorite childhood treat do you no longer eat but still crave?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Awesome gifts!

Back in August, I wrote about how I keep a well stocked pantry to make it easier on me to eat healthy. 

 A couple weeks later, I received an email from Muir Glen Organic thanking me for recommending them and asking if they could send me a thank you gift.  

I was really surprised becuase first of all, I really didn't think that anyone read my blog, especially not a big company.  Also, I wasn't asked, paid, or bribed to mention the brand and I didn't write to them asking for free stuff.  It's just a brand that I adore and have been eating since my mom started buying them when I was a teenager.  I think anyone who loves tomatoes....and I mean fresh picked from the garden on a hot August afternoon in California, not the crap in the grocery store in mid-January...should buy these tomatoes, because they do taste like those "fresh-picked-garden-on-a-hot-August-afternoon-in-California" tomatoes.  Just like the ones Mom and Grandma used to grow or pick at Larry's and can for us to enjoy all winter long.

So a few weeks later, I come home and find a box of goodies on my porch!  

On top was a handwritten note and a cool tomato sticker that I promptly stuck on my fridge!

Attached to the note was a coupon for a free item at the grocery store.  I love their pasta sauces, so I will pick up one of those next time I go out.  Not only do their sauces taste homemade, they are free from all the gunk that many other brands have in them like HFCS and MSG.  


Then were was a cute canvas grocery bag and a matching dishtowel!  Can't have enough of this stuff when you are cooking as much as I do! 

 Then there was 4 cans of my favorite tomato products!  No salt added diced tomatoes, fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies (I use this in any recipe that calls for Rotel....a million times better), Fire roasted tomatoes, and pizza sauce.   

 So thank you Muir Glen for the awesome goodie box.  I totally appreciate it.

And if anyone actually reads this, buy these tomato products.  I'm not being paid to say this, I promise. You should just do it becuase you like good food that tastes awesome!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lime & Coconut Chicken Legs

Organic chicken legs were on sale, and in my effort to keep my menu from staying in a rut, I looked for a fresh new idea on how to prepare them.  

I found this yummy sounding recipe by Rachel Ray and I knew I had to make it.  It had many of my loves in it:  Lime, coconut, and green onions.  

I had all the ingredients on hand, AND it fit within my restrictions, so I didn't need to make many adjustments to the recipe!

I served it on some brown rice that I had tossed with cilantro and lime juice and a side of sauteed squash.


I didn't have to make many changes to the recipe (which is shocking considering all my restrictions)!  Hope you enjoy it!

from Everyday with Rachel Ray

3 cloves fermented garlic  
1/2" fresh ginger, peeled
1 bunch green onions, white and green parts, ends trimmed
1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed
1 tsp sriracha
2 tbl coconut aminos
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbl toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup raw local honey 
1 cup light coconut milk 
juice and zest of 2 limes
salt and pepper to taste
8 skin-on chicken drumsticks

In blender or food processor, combine all ingredients except chicken; puree. Marinate in coconut milk mixture overnight. Transfer chicken to rack placed on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 30-45 turning chicken every 15 minutes so that it does not burn.  (I think this would be really great grilled as well.  Just be careful of the flare up from the faty chicken skins!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Making comfort foods allergy friendly (and healthier)

Just like every other kid that was born in the 70's and early 80's, you probably had red-labeled condensed cream of something soup based casseroles make frequent appearances on your dining room table.  Those soups were great dinner starters/helpers.  

Mom even had a cookbook published in the mid '70s dedicated to soup based meals.  My sister was helping mom reorganize the house recently and found this recipe and texted it to me.  I'm so glad mom never made this recipe.  Instantly, the old Sesame Street song came to mind..."One of these things is not like the of these things just doesn't belong..."

Besides the traditional green bean casserole, mom made two cream of mushroom soup dishes that us kids ate without too much complaint and we even requested that she make them.  The first was "pea patch chicken."  It was a one skillet meal of chicken pieces, a can of soup, and a bag of frozen peas.  Let that cook for a while and serve on top of rice.  Another was hamburger gravy.  Same concept, just hamburger and soup served on top of rice. 

Those two meals are a couple of my favorite childhood dinners.  Maybe it's just the memories associated with the dinners, but occasionally I find 
myself craving them now, especially after a rough day at work, or when I'm sick.

I don't buy the condensed soup anymore because it's full of things I'm allergic to, as well as preservatives and additives that I choose not to eat anymore.

One day, while surfing around on Pinterest for allergy-friendly recipes, I saw a recipe for "Homemade Cream of Something Soup" with many different options to make it allergen free, vegetarian/vegan, etc. I was so excited when the pin took me to a legitimate website and I ended up at Once a Month Mom, a website dedicated to once a month freezer cooking.  I was pleased to see that there were so many options for making all the cream of something soups I had grown up eating.  

I decided to make a cream of celery soup.  Because this recipe has several steps and can take a bit of time (and I am always pressed for time), I decided to quadruple the recipe, and freeze the equivalent of one can of soup into a Ziplock.  

Make sure to use a large pot if you quadruple the recipe, because you will outgrow your standard sized sauce pan...not that I know this from experience or anything...

Condensed Cream of Celery Soup
from Once a Month Mom

1 tbl of coconut oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, diced
2 cup celery, diced
1 cup Earth Balance Coconut Spread
1 cup brown rice flour
1 quart rice/almond/coconut milk
3 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
salt and pepper

1 tsp dried thyme

Heat a large, deep skillet or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add about 1tbl of coconut oil and heat.  Saute garlic, onion and celery and set aside. Melt coconut spread over medium heat. Whisk in brown rice flour. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add “milk” and stock/broth. Add sauteed garlic, onion and celery mixture and thyme to the milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring regularly, until it reaches desired consistency (about 20-30 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Makes the equivalent of 4 cans of cream of celery soup.  Each can is approx. 1.5 cups of soup.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.  You can also divide into separate portions and freeze in freezer bags.   

looks better than the stuff from the can!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mac & Goat Cheese with Bacon

My #1 favorite food of all time is mac& cheese.  Like if I was choosing my last meal, it would be mac & cheese.  (Followed by risotto and cheesy garlic bread...notice the carb and cheese trend?) Nothing says comfort food to me like a bowl of creamy, cheesy goodness.  My grandma makes the most amazing homemade mac & cheese on the planet, and passed her recipe on to my mom, who in turned has passed it on to me.  When I was first living on my own, boxes of mac &cheese were a regular staple in my kitchen.  I would eat any kind of mac & cheese, from the generic box, the blue box, frozen tv dinners, homemade, all the way to fancy lobster macs.

A few years ago I heard about a trend of "item specific" restaurants that were opening.  Instead of a varied menu, they would focus the majority, if not all, of their menu to variations of one item.  A restaurant that specialized in cereal.  Another in Peanut Butter Sandwiches.  And another that was nothing but french fries with many different sauces for dipping.  And then I heard about S'Mac.  An entire restaurant that serves nothing but mac & cheese. That place sounded like Heaven.

Sadly, I have never been to NYC, and have never got to experience S'Mac.  When my sister went to NYC a couple years ago to visit her friends, I couldn't convince her to bring it back with her on the plane (not sure it would pass security either...).  

Is it bad that I want to go on food-centered vacations? 

When I had to start eating gluten-free, I was sad to no longer eat much of the foods I love, but relieved that, with a few modifications, I could still make homemade mac & cheese.  

In early 2011, a friend told me that a mac & cheese restaurant called Homeroom had just opened much closer to home.  It was only about in hour away in Oakland, CA.  Even better, they serve gluten-free versions of all their mac & cheese!  Dave and I went and I was hooked.  It's so adorable inside, decorated like an old school, complete with a card catalog file and a giant blackboard.  The menu is based around varieties of mac & cheese as well as a few of your childhood favorites like buttered peas, homemade Oreos, and homemade root beer.  We have been there several times and have always had amazing mac & cheese and great service every time we have visited.

Then, this year, I found out that I had to start eating dairy-free.  Don't get me wrong. I love feeling better, and sacrifices are really worth it, but I miss cheese.  And you can't have mac & cheese without the cheese.  Yes, yes, I know there are dairy-free, gluten-free mac & cheeses out there.  But have you tried them?  Most of them are SO GROSS.  Amy's makes one that's the best of any I have ever tried, but it's still nothing like the real stuff.  I could try to make my own, but I'm not super happy with the taste or texture of dairy free cheeses.

As I've been experimenting with my diet, I have found that I can tolerate goat milk and goat cheese pretty well.  Goat milk/cheese is one of those things you either love or hate, and luckily for me, I love it!  

We ended up going to Homeroom on our way home from Santa Cruz a few weeks ago, and I tested my stomach out to try their Mac the Goat mac & cheese.  It still has some cows dairy in it, but much less than a normal bowl of mac & cheese.  I opted for the gluten free noodles, no toasted breadcrumbs, and added some yummy bacon to the mix.  It was amazing.  And it didn't hurt my stomach at all, which made me very happy! 

Mac the Goat with added bacon.
Menu at Homeroom
Unfortunately, I do live an hour away from Homeroom, so I can't go there as often as I'd like (B,L,&D - 365), so I challenged myself to make my own version at home. 

I started out by chopping up some pastured bacon and frying it up until it was crispy. 

Then I started out making a cheese sauce, just like my mom and grandma had taught me to make.  Melt butter in a saucepan (I used Earth Balance Coconut spread), whisk in flour and cook briefly (I used brown rice flour), add milk (goat milk) and cheese (goat cheese) and cook over low until thick and creamy.  

Then I cooked some gluten-free macaroni noodles and mixed it with the cheese sauce.

I topped it with the bacon and green onions and gave it a taste.  It was delicious!  It was very close to tasting like Homeroom, but saved me a long car ride! 

And then I decided to get fancy and sauteed some crimini mushrooms in the bacon fat and put them on top of the mac n cheese.  It was so heavenly and I'm pretty sure I saw Dave's eyes roll back in his head as he took his first bite. 

Mac & Goat Cheese with Bacon 
(inspired by Homeroom's Mac the Goat)

4 slices bacon, chopped
8 oz crimini mushrooms, slices
12 oz brown rice macaroni noodles
3 tbl Earth Balance Coconut spread
3 tbl brown rice flour
2 cups goat milk
6 oz soft goat cheese
4 green onions, sliced thinly

Fry bacon.  Drain on a paper towel.  Set aside. 

Saute mushrooms in bacon fat.  Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain and rinse.  Set aside. 

Melt Earth Balance Coconut Spread in a sauce pan over medium low heat.  When the spread is completely melted, sprinkle in rice flour and mix until its completely combined.  Cook for a couple minutes, stirring constantly.  Add milk and cheese.  Cook over medium low until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes.  Stir in noodles.  Spoon into serving bowls and top with bacon, mushrooms and green onions.  Serve immediately.  

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Pesto tuna salad

I was looking for new ways to use up all the spinach pesto that I made and I found this cool list from the Food Network called "50 Ways to Use Pesto."

I'm always looking for new ideas for lunch and #25 caught my attention: Pesto Tuna Salad. 

I'm not a huge tuna fan, especially when I was a little kid and my mom let me watch 60 Minutes sometime, and once they had a report about bugs in your food and tuna, ketchup and peanut butter were the top three buggiest foods on the market.  I stopped eating all three right then.


But since I'm on such a restricted diet, I'm giving some old foods another chance to earn their way back into my diet.  Tuna is really good for you, so I'm really trying to learn to like it.  I can't eat tuna the way mom used to make it with mayo and pickle relish, so I'm searching for new recipes that fit in my restrictions.  

I made the recipe, but found that it was still too "dry" for my taste.  I kept adding pesto a tablespoon at a time and ended up adding between 1/3-1/2 cup of pesto.  I ate it with gluten free rice crackers and cucumber slices, but this would be delicious on top of a salad.  It was really good, and I would definitely eat it again.

Pesto Tuna Salad

2 cans drained tuna
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced red peppers
1/3 - 1/2 cup spinach pesto
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and fresh ground pepper 

Mix all ingredients together. Can be chilled.  

Before adding the pesto

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lemony Basil Spinach Pesto (Vegan)

The other day, I was really craving some pesto, but my basil plant didn't really have enough leaves to make a batch.  But I did have a giant tub of spinach from Costco wilting away in the back of my fridge.   I used a small handful of basil and the entire tub of spinach and came out with a small bowl of yummy pesto.  It amazed me how little pesto I actually got compared to the massive amount of spinach I had.  A costco tub of spinach is ginormous!

I followed the same general steps that I used for my dairy-free basil pesto, except this time, I used raw pine nuts and did not toast them.   

Once again, I forgot to take a picture of this creation.  Which is really sad, because it turned such a beautiful bright shade of green.  I ended up freezing most of this in ice cube trays and then store the pesto cubes in a Ziploc so I have pesto all winter.   

Lemony Basil Spinach Pesto

1 small handful basil leaves
1 - 1lb tub of spinach
3 cloves garlic (I love my fermented garlic)
1/4 c. raw pine nuts
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
+/- 1/2 c. Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put the basil, spinach, garlic and nuts in a food processor and pulse until everything is chopped.  Add lemon juice and zest.  Turn on food processor and slowly drizzle in olive oil until it reaches desired consistency.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Use immediately, store in a sealed container in the fridge for about 7-10 days, or freeze. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Italian "Salsa"

My cherry tomato plants will not quit.  They keep producing like there's no tomorrow.  I finally had to start coming up with new ideas because I am so burnt out on all my standby recipes.   I made kalua pork in the crockpot over the weekend and was tired of having it in tacos or over plain rice and shredded cabbage like we always do. 

Don't you just hate when you get in a cooking rut? Ugh! 

As I was looking at the cherry tomatoes and was getting ready to throw them in the food processor once again for lazy salsa, I had an idea.  Couldn't I add similar, yet different ingredients and make an Italian style "salsa" instead of a Mexican flavored salsa?  A few minutes later, the Italian "salsa" was born.

Italian "Salsa"

4 cups of fresh tomatoes
1 bunch of basil, large stems removed
1 can of black olives, drained
1jalapeƱos, stem removed, seeded (if desired...seeds=spicy)
Juice of 1-2 lemons
Salt, to taste

Rinse off all your veggies.  Place all your ingredients, except salt, in the food processor and chop until desired consistency is reached, about 5-30 seconds.  Add salt to taste.  Can be served immediately, or chilled to let the flavors develop.  Stays good in the fridge for a couple of days. 

If you aren't eating GF, this would be great served with those crunchy toasts you would use to make bruschetta.

I served the salsa on top of some polenta rounds I baked in the oven until they were crispy and the leftover shredded pork.  It was really yummy! 


Sunday, October 7, 2012

These Are My Confessions

I have some confessions to make.  No, not these kind of confessions...but I do feel really guilty like I've been cheating on myself and my health...

Ever since our last trip to Tahoe, I haven't been 100% following my diet, and eating foods that I shouldn't be.  Not at every meal, not all the time.  Just little bits here and there. I have successfully added some foods back into my diet, but some things, like wheat, dairy and spicy foods, just don't agree with me.   

Like the time I had a cupcake sized cheesecake...

Or the time Dave and I split the nachos at Freebirds...

I didn't feel terrible each time after I ate one of these things, so I guessed that I would be ok if I was having these things occasionally, as long as they weren't part of my everyday diet.  

Over the past few days, I've noticed my energy levels were down.  My joints were hurting.  My pants were tighter.  I was stuffy.  I was PMSing badly.  Colds and flus are going around the office now that school is back in session and I was sure that I just had a touch of whatever everyone else had on top of just being a bloated, emotional woman.  

Last week was our anniversary and we took a little getaway back to Tahoe.  This time we rented a vacation house.  It was adorable and bits of it reminded me of my grandparent's house in Washington. 

The morning was nice and chilly, so Dave got us Starbucks (yay soy milk Pumpkin Spice Latte) while I cooked us a healthy breakfast of sweet potatoes, eggs, and pastured bacon.  We needed a hearty breakfast so we could go hiking later that morning.  

We drove over to Heavenly so we could do the last hiking of the season.  The calendar says it's fall, but the weather and the trees just aren't cooperating just yet.  I did find one tree that had changed colors, but it was right next to a perfectly green tree.  

I realized I forgot my hat and we stopped off at the ski shop to find one.  Isn't it so cute?  

I looked inside the hat, and noticed it had a saying inside.  I read it and just hung my head and sighed deeply.  Another random sign from the universe...a gentle reminder that I need to be pursuing what I love...and I'm not where I'm supposed to be.  

Yes, I already have makeup sweat on it.  Ugh!

We got on the Gondola and stopped off at the lookout point.  The weather was beautiful and there was a slight breeze.  Perfect for hiking. 

The sun hiding behind the fluffy clouds. 
Our traditional "hold-the-camera-out-in-front-of-you-and -take -our -own-picture" picture

Last trip, we hiked up the California side of the mountain, so this time we decided to hike up the Nevada side.  It was getting pretty warm outside, and I was having difficulty adjusting to the altitude.  My joints were hurting and I just wanted to give up a couple minutes after we started.  

The views overlooking Carson Valley were amazing.  I love hiking because you get to see some of the most beautiful places that you would never get to see otherwise.  

We kept on going up the trail and it was a struggle.  I was breathing hard, I was hurting, and I was exhausted.  This was so different from how I felt at our last hike up here.  Sure, it was hard, but I felt great, had great energy, and just loved it!

I was so mad at myself.  I had been doing so good.  I started feeling better, so I got too bold and felt like I could go back to eating things I normally did.  I was still being generally healthy, but I was eating small quantities of wheat and dairy and other foods here and there and it was slowly slipping me back into an unhealthy state.  

Dave was so sweet and kept asking if I was ok, if we needed to rest, or if we needed to turn around.  I was near tears.  How could I do this to myself?  I was doing so well and in a few weeks, I'm almost back were I started?  

One thing that may or may not be a good quality about me is that I'm pretty stubborn.  Today, my stubbornness was a good thing because I wouldn't give up.  I wouldn't stop.  I couldn't give up and admit defeat.  I kept on going.  

I took a picture at the end of the trail just to prove I finished.  I was tired.  I was sore.  It hurt to breathe. But I finished.  It wasn't a long hike, but it was a steep hike and the elevation kills me since where I live is practically sea level.  

After I sat down for a bit and caught my breath and drank some water, I  felt a little better and promised myself to not let this happen again.  I need to get my focus back and not be such a baby on missing out on food.  I need to not cheat on my health.  

I saw this sign on the way back, and it made me happy!  

We were hungry after our hike and instead of stopping somewhere and getting some junk food, we headed over to Sprouts and had a healthy light lunch and some fresh juice.  Fresh juice instantly makes me feel better.  As soon as I start drinking it, I feel refreshed and nourished.  

Sprouts is a cool little hippie vegetarian cafe that serves amazing, healthy food.  I wish there was a place like that where I live.  

I busted up laughing when I saw this on the wall at Sprouts.  

The next day, at the suggestion from a Heavenly employee, we headed over to the Visitor's Center to see the salmon spawning at Taylor Creek.  

It was another picture perfect day.  I was a little relieved that this ended up to be more of a walk than a hike.

There was some really interesting educational signs all along our walk talking about the Tahoe area and the wildlife.  It was sad to learn that after these fish spawn, they die.  

We kept seeing signs warning us about bears in the area, but sadly we didn't have the privilege of seeing any fishing bears.  

We made it to Taylor Creek to see the salmon.  The water was so clear and all you could see were hundreds of red salmon trying to swim upstream.  

After our little walk, we stopped at the Beacon, a cute little bar and restaurant on the lake.  I was good and avoided ordering anything I shouldn't eat.  They had amazing Rum Runners, and I think everyone should go drink them by the dozens (responsibly, of course!)

Later that night we went back to Heavenly village and had dinner.  Once again, I ate appropriately.  After dinner, we sat outside by the fireplaces and had an after dinner drink.   

We came home, refreshed, and I came home with a new perspective. I am attempting to participate in the October Unprocessed Challenge.  For me, it's much more than just a challenge to eat better, it's a necessity to feel better.  I already eat a healthy diet, I just need to remember that a night out, a vacation, or a fun event is no excuse to stray away from healing my body and feeling better.