December 30, 2014

My Favorite Homemade {southwestern} Meatloaf

Excuse my very boring image above...but I made meatloaf and was hungry. I even forgot to add the broccoli with almonds to the photo. It was a hectic day. Next time. I am only human and no food blogger, but I made my very own homemade meatloaf and let me tell you it was very delicious.

For months I wanted to make meatloaf. I was craving it but then also admitted to myself that making a dish like that during hot summer days wasn't ideal. So I waited until temperatures dropped. Colder temperatures ask for warmer and somewhat heavier dishes. This meatloaf isn't even "heavy" but definitely worth a try during colder days.

Here's what you need {for about 4 servings}:

- 1lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves {I used parsley instead}
- 1 can {4 ounces} mild green chiles, drained {optional}
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can {8 ounces} tomato sauce, divided
- 2 tablespoons ketchup

Here's what you do:

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spray 13x9 baking pan {or use something else you think would work}
- Combine beef, onion, cornmeal, egg, cumin, salt, pepper, half the tomato sauce, cilantro and peppers
- Mix well
- In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the rest of the tomato sauce with ketchup
- Shape the meat mixture into your pan, then top the ketchup mix on top.
- Bake for 55 minutes or until cooked through
- Wait five minutes before you cut the loaf
- Enjoy

Once it comes out of the oven the ketchup pretty much looks the same. I had no idea. Again, I'm no pro and never thought that ketchup stayed the same...I mean, it never crossed my mind. I just thought something would happen to it but clearly it looked the same. Needless to say we ate this dish in no time, hence the halfway eaten loaf photo. LOVED it.

This dish was one of the easiest and one of those I dreamed of later. I don't need to do this all the time but we needed something homemade and meaty. It was a great meatloaf and I will certainly make it again. And maybe then I have an updated photo to post on this post that actually is perfect...with spinach or carrots or peas. :) I swear, we ate veggies that day too.

December 29, 2014

A Look Back at 2014

2014 was a wonderful year. Looking back I discovered I overcame my hear of photos, graduated, moved, settled in, got married, struggled, laughed, traveled, and loved. So much happened and I am grateful for every single moment. It was a crazy year, a crazy world...but oh so worth it.

I enjoyed the first half of the year in Southern California with friends, trips to the Improv and the beach as well as weekly explorations of restaurants. I struggled with the future and what might come next. I struggled but had a steady rock to my side. I kept quiet and privately enjoyed my love life {yes, I just called it that}. I learned that happiness existed. I said "see you" to a dear friend who left for Afghanistan {he returned two weeks ago, safe and sound}. The first half of the year was fantastic.

Second half of this year turned out to be different. We moved to Sacramento. We had no idea what this move will do to us. Don't get me wrong. We have settled in but we are not fully settled. We have grown to understand each other, explore this whole new area and find little things to do around here that make us happy. We both miss Southern California but we are liking it here as well; we kind of have to for the time being, no?! Fall was finally fall, and my favorite city ever is so close by it makes life up here so much easier and more fun!

I am thankful for all of my friends {even the ones I hardly get to see!!!}, my favorite person allowing me to be me and to brighten my day every day even when I don't feel happiest, California, my Swiss family and friends who still talk to me and who I cannot wait to see again next year, my American family, and life that constantly shows me that it is worth living and loving each moment to the fullest

Bring it on 2015!!!

Here's a look back at 2013 and what I had to say about 2012.

December 26, 2014

Cozy Afternoons by the fire

 “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
  - Charles Dickens


We survived Christmas! AND it was slightly white. Yay!
Best part of our trip to see the in-laws was that we could relax, cuddle with the doggies, and just enjoy cozy moments by the fire. Literally. Also, I got everyone winter socks {I am a dork, I know} so it was quite fun to see everyone walk around with matching socks. We had a great holiday time.

I did miss my mother and my Swiss friends but other than that we had a fabulous time, exchanged gifts and surprised each other with laughter and lots of humor. Charles Dickens knew what he wrote about.

Hope your Christmas was filled with love and laughter, and if you were celebrating Hanukkah then I hope you equally enjoyed your holiday time. We all deserved it!!

Here's to relaxing over the weekend and recharging before this year ends. We will quietly spend New Year's Eve at one of our favorite restaurants in town while celebrating our four-month anniversary. Very excited about it.

Have a great day!

image via flickr

December 21, 2014

Happy Holidays

Have an amazing Christmas Week!
Have it filled with laughter, love, family, friends, food, drinks, music, and presents {of course}. Indulge in some quiet time, don't get into arguments, and enjoy every moment {even in onesies and comfy socks}. Give hugs, smile and have an awesome time!

Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2014

New Year, New {almost} Everything!

I know it is still December and 2015 hasn't even begun. Yet, it was time to change a few things on here and if you have been around for a while you know it was really time. Seriously; it took me forever. My layout is almost finished. I wanted it to be girlie, polka dotted, with a hue of gold, simple and clean. I got rid of a lot of clutter and I am still working on it. It's a constant work in progress but it's fun to rearrange things. What do you think so far?

In other news, Christmas is around the corner, Hanukkah started last week and I am getting sick. My sore throat is getting worse. I blame my amazing friend down in Southern California. I visited her for her birthday last week, hence my absence. I flew down to celebrate her birthday, had a blast, flew back to my favorite person and am now dealing with signs of a nasty cold rolling in. Fingers crossed I am stronger than that cold.

With the New Year approaching rather fast I really wanted to change a few things...not just on the blog but also in my life. It's a weird {and more than just often not thought and acted through} cliche that we make up lists and resolutions when a new year rolls in. Yet, I still want to believe in a better, more fun, and happier year. I started with changing up the blog, my thoughts, creating a creative corner at home, and will work on my fitness starting right after Christmas. Cannot wait. 2014 will end beautifully, and 2015 will start golden.

Do you have any last minute resolutions to complete this year?!

image via here

December 17, 2014

I'm back!

Hello my lovelies,

I have been MIA I know. It's been a hectic week but a very good one. I spontaneously went down to Southern California for my friend's birthday weekend. It has been four full months that I had been so you can imagine my delight to finally go back. My favorite person wanted me to go there for so long because he knows how much I miss it and how much I miss having friends around. It's hard up here. It's really really hard. Going to see my friend for her birthday was, I think, the best thing I could have done. The flight {and the anxiety beforehand} was worth it all. I am glad I went. These five days were worth it. I am rejuvenated, thrilled, excited, and just happier. 

This trip is also the reason I wasn't online all that much. Plus, my phone died three times on me. Fully charged the battery decided not to work and baaaam I had no phone or access to the outer world. I felt miserable. Really. Phone is back on but who knows for how long. It's an oldie but still a goodie, so fingers crossed Santa brings me a new phone or 2015 means I will get a new one...I know I will. 

So, bear with me my readers...I'll be slowly catching up and slowly getting around to posting again. I have yet to wrap presents, send them, and write this week will be BUSY. Good I won't complain. 

Hope this holiday season has been good to you, and that you are enjoying this month as much as I am enjoying it. Cannot believe we are already passed mid-December!! What on earth?!

Oh and if you were wondering why I chose that quote to begin this post with...lots has happened. You often dwell on what ifs and whys but in the end it's all about the NOW. I learned that certain people in my life just have to be left behind. Not because we fought, or are fighting, but because they don't accept me for who I am or for who I have become over the past twenty plus years. We all change, but we can still accept each other, no?! 

Have an absolutely awesome day.

image via here

December 10, 2014

What To Do During the Holidays when on a Special Diet

As the holidays crawl nearer {yes, crawl} most of us have parties to attend. Whether it is a party with friends, coworkers, family, or as a plus one...there's always some sort of a party people go to. Plus, if you are not hosting it is even more fun to enjoy the festivities. Just saying.

But what do you do when you are on a special diet? I am not talking about the constant diet most of us are on to lose a few pounds here and there so we fit back into our favorite jeans or the bikini we want to wear on an upcoming trip. I am talking about a constant diet more people have to live on because they are allergic to certain ingredients, or of course, the diet people believe in is the best and healthiest. I am allergic to gluten, and slightly tend to even have issues with contamination but my doctor said I should not worry yet {oh, thank you}. I know people who are allergic to nuts, diary, citric acid {which I think is worse than gluten}, or just allergic to certain fruits or other stuff. The list goes on. What do you do then? Unless you are lucky enough to have open-minded family or friends, or your friends and family are allergic as well {ha, that would be nice} attending a holiday party can be dreadful. If you are the host and you know you will have guests over who have allergies or require dietary restrictions...well, it's pretty much as dreadful, but it's all doable.

Here's a few tips I found over time that will help both sides to overcome the dreadful thought to disappoint anyone with or without an allergy or dietary preference:

When you are the host

- be direct and ask your friends about any allergies or preferences when you sent the invite; after all it's your party and you want to be a successful host pleasing friends and not making them sick and ruin the experience. Plus, with all this holiday craziness it's easy to forget to mention it. So, ask away in order to plan ahead and have fun hosting your holiday party.

- if your guests offer to help you with dishes or ask if they can prepare a dish that's specifically gluten free for example, by all means, accept that offer. Who wouldn't want help. 

- keep it simple. If it's your friends they will already love what you are going to offer them. They will eat what will be on those plates and in those pitchers {unless you are like me having no pitchers but the wine bottles ready!}. Don't overdo it. Don't go overboard by pleasing everyone by creating two kinds of the same dishes but with different pasta {gluten free and regular pasta}. Just make one. It will get eaten.

- ask for help. If you can't do it all or feel you are at a loss, ask your friends to help you out. It never hurts to ask is what most people live by, so when it comes to making a holiday party as fun and as eventful as ever, just ask and don't get too stressed. You won't be grated.

When you are the guest

- be direct and let the host know that you have an allergy. I am sure that if the host is your friend she/he already knows, but if it's another party don't hesitate too long to let them know. It's worse when you refuse food on the day of the party. It's kind of an insult.

- offer to help or bring a dish or two, and explain to the host why you would like to help out. Don't just show up with a dish in your hand {unless it's a potluck of course}. Help is always appreciated. When it comes to special ingredients, dietary preferences etc the host is not familiar with it's easier to bring/make something you know will work. Takes the pressure off the host. Trust me.

- if there's food or drinks you cannot have at a party, and you weren't as fortunate to help or bring something and no one considered your allergy {this sadly happens all the time} be a good sport. Don't frown, don't be upset {even though you will be} but instead go with the flow. Don't eat what you shouldn't but eat what you can. If the carrot and celery sticks are the only things you can eat, do so. Politely say no to anything else offered to you, drink the drinks you can and don't hesitate to ask what's in something. I mean, it's what it is. No one wants to be rushed to the ER because of a nut allergy or something else upsetting your body. So, be a good sport.

- bring back up. I always have a Kind Bar with me when I go somewhere, or a tangerine. They easily fit into any purse and allow me to feel full, get the nutrients I need and won't upset my body at all. Don't eat those items in front of your host but if you really cannot help and can't find anything that fits your special diet, then sneak in a bite or two in the bathroom {if you really really have to} or quickly go out to the car and eat it.

I have had my own share of awkwardness when it came to hosting parties or attending parties. I had to sneak in a fruit bar one time because I knew the hostess didn't care about anyone who had allergies. It's also hard for Swiss people to change their habits, or think ahead. Don't want to point fingers but I have great friends who do remember but I remember last summer I was invited to my friend's place for dinner and of course she forgot I couldn't have "normal" spaghetti. It's a mistake, and I was okay with her forgetting it all but it's been tough. Luckily she had wine. Just saying. :)

I will be possibly attending two parties this weekend {one for sure} and it won't be easy. One will be a bowling party and we all know that bowling alleys NEVER have healthy food. If you know of a place that does please let me know but all I know is bowling places have fried stuff and that jazz. Not for me. Not even a hot dog would be okay, sadly. So wish me luck. It'll be a fantastic weekend I know but it will be a tad bit difficult for me to fill my hungry gut. Fingers crossed.

Any fun plans for this weekend?
Do you have allergies or prefer a certain diet and have come across some difficulties? Fill us in.

Happy Holidays, whether you have an allergy or are on a special diet. Enjoy it to the fullest and don't overeat. ;)


image via a family feast
buffet image via better home and garden
wine image via people

December 6, 2014

Holiday Presents for the Man You Love


Sometimes it can be difficult figuring out what to get your husband or boyfriend for Christmas. They may think they’re easy to shop for, but you know better. You don’t want to be stuck buying them some new socks or another favorite gift card. It’s time to think outside the box and come up with some Christmas gifts that he will love. He’ll be impressed if you take the time to come up with a few gifts that he didn’t even know he wanted. With some creativity you’ll have some incredible gifts wrapped and placed under the tree, and he’ll be eager to open them during the holidays.

The Right Pair of Jeans


Whether he wants a double knee dungaree for when he’s on the farm, rugged, trendy, or casual denim, a variety of styles and colors can be found on G&L Clothing. Find the right pair of jeans for your man that you know will look great on him and make him feel like a million bucks. With so many options to choose from you may even get him a few pairs of jeans, especially if he needs a new pair of two because his existing pairs are ripped.

If you’re not sure what kind of jeans he likes sneak into his closet when he isn’t looking and find out what color he likes the most. If he prefers a darker pair of jeans buy him a new pair, but with a mix of dark and light in a trendy pair he’ll really like. You should also write down his size if you don’t already know it, and remember to read online carefully whether the jeans run small or not. Find the right pair of jeans for him and he’ll feel thankful for your creativity.

A Handmade Gift 


Your husband may not be able to admit that he loves the sentimental gifts, but deep down he loves them most of all. Make him a photo collage of you and kids or come up with a dream box with individual dreams written down on small cards that fit inside. If you’re super creative decorate the box with favorite photos, stickers, and other elements that will make the box stand out. There are also canvas photos that can be made online with a favorite family photo. A canvas photo is easy to hang up in your home and fun to wrap and stick under the tree.

Clever Sports Accessories 


If he happens to be obsessed with sports such as football, baseball, basketball, or NASCAR, it’s okay to buy some accessories that he will absolutely love and use. Whether it’s memorabilia or something he personally can use, such as a new kayak for kayaking, showing him that you support his love of sports will make him feel special. There are also other accessories you can buy him such as a new pair of court shoes, shirts for tennis and working out, and more. Perhaps you’ll even want to attend a live game with him in the near future! If this is the case buy tickets ahead of time for Christmas.

Guest post by Sierra at Simply Sierra blog

December 4, 2014

Home for the Holidays

With the holidays approaching faster than ever {or is it just me?} it is always fun to see neighborhoods decorating, commercials switching over to more festive ideas, and stores playing holiday music. I'd prefer it to be a mix of Christmas music and some regular radio music. As much as I love Christmas music I don't want to hear constant holiday is just too much. However, a nice mix would be perfect. 

I of the best parts this season? The Samsung commercial with Kirsten Bell and Dax Shepard. I may be an Apple girl most of the time {just not the computers} but this commercial is the cutest and most festive one. Love it. So in honor of December and this holiday season...I'm sharing this video with you. I'm sure you have seen it before, and if not, you are welcome. 

December 3, 2014

Yummy Zucchini Pancakes

It has been a while since I shared a recipe with you. I have been cooking but not really something I would want to share or think it's worth sharing {a.k.a. I often cook the same stuff because it's easy and liked and eaten by everyone}. With warmer temperatures leaving us and giving room for cooler weather it is time to eat healthier. It has gotten cold here in Northern California. It's been raining and dropped down to the 50s, and yes, that is warm for some of you living in snow areas...but this is pretty cold for CA. 
We should all eat healthier throughout the year but sometimes we forget and indulge in heavier, meat and sauce filled dishes keeping our gut satisfied. Sometimes, we just have to stop that habit and go for something healthier and fun. I came up with gluten free zucchini pancakes. I made a ton and thought we'd have leftovers. I was mistaken. We ate them all.

Here's what you need:

2 cups grated zucchini {I used two large zucchini and it was enough...I made a third one and just grilled it}
2 eggs, slightly beaten {I seasoned them with pepper and paprika}
2 tbspoon chopped green onions {or more or less if you want}
1/2 cup flour {I used 3/4 cup of gluten free flour}
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese  {or more if you feel the batter needs it}
1/2 tspoon baking powder
1/2 tspoon salt
1 pinch dried oregano {I used more since I love oregano}
1/4 cup vegetable oil, or as needed

Here's what you do:
- Blot grated zucchini with paper towels to remove the extra moisture
- Stir together zucchini, eggs and onion in a bowl
- In a separate bowl mix flour, cheese, baking powder, salt and oregano
- Stir in the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture. It will be moistened.

- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high
- Work in batches, drop about 1/4-cup portions of that batter into the hot oil
- Fry until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per side
- Drain pancakes on a paper towel-lined plate

Serve with or without plain Greek yogurt.

It sounds like a lot but isn't. It's very easy and oh so delicious. You can add different kinds of seasoning to your beaten eggs or even to the cheese/flour mix. It's all up to you. We love pepper and paprika so it worked perfectly for us. Cannot wait to make some more. Best quick and quite healthy dish ever.

Anything you make with zucchini? Anything you'd recommend?
Let me know.


P.s. Happy Birthday to my favorite person...may today be an awesome day for you....and yes, we are going to see your folks just has to be perfect!

December 2, 2014

Rainy Random Weekend Update

I have been MIA for the past week. It was a perfect way for me to unplug and enjoy life. I did not touch my computer once. Even though my Thanksgiving didn't turn out as planned it was still a good and long weekend. I think I have not watched this many Christmas movies or just regular films for a very long time. It felt great. I even introduced my favorite person to some films he had never watched. I had to watch a few of my favorites - so thrilled he lets me introduce films to him he may actually like. He liked this one a lot. Granted, he'd prefer action packed, bloody stuff....but well, for this holiday season he decided to go with the simple one; then again, hew as tired from working all week long {even on Thanksgiving} so he just plainly gave in. Haha!

I could go on and tell you about the films I watched but this would end up super long and quite boring. Also, it was constantly raining so that meant I was trapped most of the time watching films until my eyes would not stay open. On Sunday however, I was a happy girl. My favorite person finally had a day off {before his entire week of vacation started} and we decided to go against the rain and see the California Automobile Museum. It was a great way to enjoy a cold and gray Sunday. Plus, when I see cars from 1906 and 1926 and 1938 I get a little much history, so much those cars could tell, that prestige they provide and the elegance they carry with them is just impeccable. Today, cars don't have this beauty about them anymore.

Just looking at these I feel the history coming back and all. I swear, I am definitely born in the wrong decade...or, as I always say, I might as well have lived in the 1930s - hair, shoes, and all.

Time to fix the leaking roof now...wish me luck. 


December 1, 2014

Hello December

Do I need to say more?
The holiday season has officially begun.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Chrismukkah or nothing at all, December is always a month to look back at the year and look forward to something better, bigger, more phenomenal and thrilling.

With that said, go out and have fun.
Enjoy this month and make it one to remember {in a very good way!!}.
I have plans to travel and see very close friends, family and fur nephews!!
It is going to be a freezing as well as a warm winter holiday. Cannot wait.

Happy Monday!

first image via here


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