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Author: Julie

Mahi Mahi Chili 30 Minutes or Less

Mahi Mahi Chili 30 Minutes or Less

mahi mahi chili tacos

I am a fish fan. My husband isn’t. This is a point of contention for me, but you can’t make someone like a food, or can you? David actually enjoys this Mahi Mahi recipe. He has even been packing in his lunch box as a mason jar salad (just like me). I wanted to share this super simple recipe with you because it is a weekly staple in our house now. I make it up on Sundays and eat it for lunch all week, and if there is any left over, I have it for tacos one night during the week. AHHmazing. (see video at the bottom of the page)

Ingredients:mahi mahi chili tacos
1lb. wild caught mahi mahi (cubed into 1/2-inch squares)
1 cup cooked black or pinto Beans
1/2 can tomato paste (or sub 1 cup chopped tomatoes)
1/2 white onion (chopped)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup water
*optional additions: cilantro, lime, and bell pepper
Seasonings:
3 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, cook onions one minute, then add the mahi mahi
2. While mahi mahi is cooking, combine in a separate bowl the seasonings, tomato paste, and water, and whisk until combined
3. Once mahi mahi is cooked all the way through, add the beans, stirring, and then add your seasoning mixture to the skillet, stirring to keep it from sticking
4. Bring to a boil, then place on simmer until it reaches desired consistency (about ten minutes for me). Make sure you stir it often.
5. If you are going to add bell pepper, add it with the onions, if you are going to add lime, add it in when the seasonings mixture, and if you are going to add cilantro, add it in the last ten minutes.

Paleo Option:
Replace beans with bell pepper and tomato paste with 2 chopped tomatoes

Vegan option:
Replace Mahi Mahi with additional beans or Tofu

Mason Jar Salad Recipe:
Get five mason jars out, and scoop the chili, evenly divided, into each jar.
Add a scoop of cottage cheese (optional)
Add chopped bell pepper
Add chopped green onions
Add cilantro
Finish with chopped red cabbage, OR chopped romaine hearts *NOTE the cabbage will last longer and can withstand better than the romaine.

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For the tacos:
Use same ingredients that are in the salad above, only layer in a taco shell or burrito instead.

LACK-HACK – Perfect Mother’s or Father’s Day Gift

LACK-HACK – Perfect Mother’s or Father’s Day Gift

My parents are the kind of people who have everything.  They are retired, they spend most of their time at the beach, and they don’t ever “need” anything, but they love toys.

PhotoCoastersHR


I made some photo coasters for them a few years ago, and my dad mentioned wanting to do a photo table.  I decided to make this for him for father’s day this year (Dad, if you’re reading this, STOP!!!)

 

This project was pretty simple, just some basic materials and some ratty clothes are all you need to make this project a reality.  I would try to space this out over an entire weekend, if not longer.  Each layer needs to dry in order for this to work properly.

 

Materials:

  • Ikea lack table ($9) or sub another table, maybe one from a thrift store
  • 25 Photos, or more if your table is larger
  • Elmers glue
  • Paper cutter (optional, this will allow you to make clean cuts on your photos, and measure them for consistency)
  • Modpodge (matte finish small should be fine)
  • EnviroText Lite High Gloss Finish
  • Brush or Sponge applicator (for the modpodge)
  • Disposable measuring container (I used an old coffee tin)
  • Wooden stick (to smooth out the resin)
  • Hair dryer

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Steps:

  1. Cut your photos to even 4’’x4’’ squares, or any other size you like!
  2. Lay out your photos in a pattern you like (optional: tape some or all of them down to keep them in place)
  3. Glue photos down with elmer’s glue
  4. Let this dry at least two hours— place something heavy on top of the photos (like a book)
  5. Apply three layers of modpodge on top of the entire table.  Make sure that the layers fully dry before applying your next coat (about 3-4 hours between coats, you can place a fan nearby to help the layers dry faster)
  6. Mix equal parts resin and hardener in to your disposable tin (if your bottles are fresh, you can simply pour them into your tin, and compare the amount left in the bottles to make sure you are using equal parts, or you can pour them into a disposable measuring cup and measure them out)  For this project I needed a little less than half of each of the bottles.
  7. Quickly pour your contents on to your table, and smooth it out using your wooden stick.  Make sure that there aren’t any “holes” and don’t worry about bubbles too much.  Try to keep it as even as possible,  but remember that a lot of it will even out as you go along.  I poured it all out on the center of the table, and then smoothed it to the corners
  8. Use your hairdryer to get rid of any bubbles (I just applied it as closely as I could to the table, and just ran it over the bubbles until they went away)
  9. Let dry for a least 12 hours, but a good day or two is best
  10. Wrap and give to a loved one

 

Also consider doing this with a map, scrapbook paper, coins, old letters, beer bottle caps, wine corks, etc.  The list is endless.

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Good luck 🙂

Pine Mountain Hike – West Loop Trail and David G. Archer Overlook

Pine Mountain Hike – West Loop Trail and David G. Archer Overlook

IMG_20160807_132424553I want to start this off by saying that Pine Mountain is where I started to fall for David. He took me here on our first date. We ended up doing both loops that day because I wanted to spend as much time with him as I could. It was a great way to begin our relationship and we try to do the hike at least once a year.

Pine Mountain West Trail Stats

Length 2.4 Miles
Elevation Gain 605 feet
Difficulty Rating More Moderate than Easy
Trail Type Loop
Date Hiked 08/08/2016
Public Facilities Free parking
Kid Friendly Yes
Pet Friendly Yes

 

This weekend, we just did the West loop trail because it was hotter than we expected. One important tip is to remember that the parking lot you start at determines which loop you will start and end your hike. If you decide to do both loops, that is great, but if you’re only interested in doing one, then you should remember which loop you started with and stay on that one.

You should be warned that if you park at the West loop THERE ARE NO BATHROOMS OR WATER FOUNTAINS. Make sure you stop on your way up if you need to go. Also, make sure you pack enough water for you and your animals, as dogs are allowed on these trails.

IMG_0440I always forget how beautiful the trail is. It is well maintained, and has a lot to see. There is a small creek that runs through the base of the mountain, and there are several boulders and cliffs to check out on your way up.

 

IMG_0430There is one overlook, so both loops will take you to it, and it is called the David G. Archer Overlook. This is a large overlook, and is typically pretty crowded, and we even saw some hammocks this weekend. It is very sunny at the top, so sunscreen is a must if you are planning on spending a lot time up there. The overlook offers amazing views of Lake Allatoona, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, and Plant Bowen.

Throughout the loops, there are signs labeling the trees, which can be nice if you are interested in learning about the vegetation around you.

Pine Mountain West Trail Head Map

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Take some time to soak up the last days of summer, because fall will be here soon. This is an excellent trail if you are an active person. Bring plenty of water and snacks, and don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray! Happy Hiking!!! 🙂

Video of the Hike

Nutribullet vs. Vitamix

Nutribullet vs. Vitamix

If you are anything like me, then I am sure you overthink everything you buy. I did this for about a year before buying a Vitamix, and let me tell you, it was worth every penny.

It replaces the need for a food processor, and proudly sits on your counter as the best damn blender you’ll ever own. David and I use it all the time, and have for years. We make post-hike smoothies, and we used to make seriously awesome frozen drinks in there. We decided after giving our parents health-conscious gifts for Fathers’ and Mothers’ day last year, that we needed to do the same this year.

We settled on getting them a vitamix, one for each couple. The almost $1,000.00 we would have spent on this stopped us in our tracks. I heard great things about the Nutribullet, but I wasn’t convinced that a $70 machine could perform as well as the vitamix.

We decided on a whim to get one and try it out. We put the exact same ingredients inside both machines and started them up. You can see the video below of what happened.

What we discovered was that YES when it comes to making smoothies, the Nutribullet could handle it. Not quite with the same whipping finesse of the Vitamix, but it could demonish raw beets, seeds, and kale without making us have to chew.

  • Pros:
    • Smaller and takes up less counter space
    • Not as loud
    • Better at individual proportions
    • Blender container turns into drinking cup
  • Cons:
    • Not as powerful, so the machine has to run longer
    • No low or high, it is either on or off
    • Doesn’t whip the avocados
    • Won’t make two smoothies at once

All-in-all I would highly recommend getting a nutribullet if you are just starting out with your smoothies, or are single and looking for something easy for one person. We gave it to our parents, and one set has been using it daily, while the other finds the number of parts cumbersome and is on the fence about returning it.
If you are interested in learning about how to make the perfect green smoothie, stay tuned because David should be coming out with a post about it within the week! Have a wonderful day, and thank you for reading.

Sugarmill Ruins Travel Park

Sugarmill Ruins Travel Park

We store our camper at Sugar Mill Ruins Travel Park in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. We absolutely LOVE this park. Their sites are all tree-covered, spacious, and clean. The campground offers a private fishing lake, a nice pool, tiki bar, and daily events like aerobics or family-movies by the pool.  The bathrooms are clean, and there are multiple showers.

Their drink prices are $1.25 for wine or draft beer at the tiki bar, which is unbeatable. They also have ice cream for $1.25 a cone, or $1.50 for double-scoop. The general store is affordable, so we usually buy our ice there on the way to the beach 🙂

The roads are not paved, which makes it much cooler to sit outside, and the staff is beyond helpful. Overall, we love this campground, and plan on making this our home-base at some point.

The beach in New Smyrna is unique because you can actually drive on it.  We can load our car full of beach chairs, umbrellas, a grill, towels, and cooler.  This removes the need to lug our stuff for a half mile through the sand, and it allows you to easily cook on the beach.  The parking fee for the beach is $10 per day or $100 per year, which is very reasonable.  Don’t forget to carpool!

Overall, I would highly recommend staying in this campground.  They allow tent-camping as well, and we have seen some really awesome pop-ups.  They also provide storage for your camper on-site for $38 per month.

Camper for a Year

Camper for a Year

It’s a mystery to me
We have a greed with which we have agreed
And you think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all, you won’t be free
-Eddie Vedder

In January, my fiance and I decided to stop drinking.  Not because we necessarily had a problem with it, or anything like that, we just decided that it was inhibiting us from doing the things we love.  As we are getting older, we are finding that what used to be a minor hang-over the next morning before breakfast has turned into two full days of non-stop vegging.  We would eat ourselves sick on some chipotle, wonder aimlessly around our apartment, and basically do nothing.  This was preventing us from living our lives.  We weren’t hiking as much, camping, saving money, spending time with friends, or being productive.  Our apartment was starting to slip, and all organization went out the window.  I am not saying that we were even drinking that much, just a couple of drinks for me and a little bit more for David, and we were basically done for the next day.  Since we are active people, this was a problem.

This brings me to the point that since we stopped drinking, we’ve noticed a lot has changed in our lives.  For one, we are a million times more productive.  I started blogging, taking online courses, spending time with my friends and family, and I even started painting again.  David has dropped 15 pounds, can run a 5k like a boss, and has significantly diminished acid-reflux.  He has even stopped taking his medication for it, supplementing with Tums instead when needed.

Our mental health is at an all-time high, and we have noticed that our itch to travel is non-stop.  Like a rash that won’t go away, we just can’t scratch idea of getting out of town out of our heads.  We had a stroke of good luck from the universe last year around this time when my parents bought a new RV and we adopted their old twenty-year Mallard (I know the Ballard Mallard is all we used to say when I was growing up).  We decided to store it in our favorite campground, Sugar Mill Ruins in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  Here, we can go to our private oasis (we are homeowners  now after all) and get away from Atlanta.  After spending a few weekends in our camper, we decided that we could totally, one-hundred percent, live in that camper.  With minimal dishes, clothes, hobby stuff (this is a tough one for me), and furniture we can do it.  We could save a lot of money, pay off some student loans, and maybe even see a huge chunk of the United States.  Sure, our camper does need a little love, but we really lucked out because it is in terrific shape. We do have a few projects we are going to try to accomplish before we both go virtual:

    • Bathroom Reconstruction

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    • New Toilet
    • New Vanity
    • Pull the wallpaper off and paint the walls of the tub and entire bathroom
    • Paint the tub lining
    • New shower controls
  • Solar Panel the roof
  • Figure out a good solution for a desk area
  • Put vinyl flooring in
  • Find a comfortable sleeper sofa
  • Paint and clean the outside of the camper
  • Cosmetic fun stuff
    • Pull the wallpaper up in the slide room and paint
    • Paint the walls all over
    • Paint a fun quote on the outside of the camper
    • Put up fun map and ocean paintings
    • Curtains
    • New Blinds
    • Put new knobs on the cabinets
    • Paint all the vents, speakers, etc.
    • Restructure the shelves in the closets to make them more accessible
    • Mount a TV in the living space
    • Set up our “kombucha world”

I will be posting about everything we do, taking a few time-lapses, and definitely some how-to videos as we go along. Below is a video of what it looks like now. There was some water damage in the bathroom, so that will be our first priority.  Below is a video of what it looks like now:

Simple Curry Shrimp with Broccoli

Simple Curry Shrimp with Broccoli

One of our favorite meals is curried shrimp.  David is not a fish fan, so when I finally discovered a fish recipe he could enjoy, it quickly became a weekly staple.

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Ingredients:
3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil
½-1 pound of cooked and peeled frozen or fresh shrimp (sub any other fish you like)
1 onion (of choice)
4 green onion stalks (whites included)
3-4 garlic cloves
1 can of coconut cream or homemade cashew milk
½ cup of water or broth
1 can of tomato paste
3-4 tablespoons of curry spice
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 dried bay leaves
½ teaspoon cayenne (or more depending on how hot you like it)
½ lime (juiced)
1 lb. of frozen mixed vegetables (onions and peppers, green beans, cauliflower, etc) Shrimp Curry Dayhiked-5

Shrimp Curry Dayhiked-8

Prep:
1. Chop onions and garlic cloves
2. Chop green onions, but separate the white part from the green part
3. Whisk together coconut cream, water, tomato paste, curry spice, and salt

Instructions:

1. Heat oil in cast-iron skillet
2. Add onions, stirring for two minutes, then add garlic cloves, and stir for one more minute
3. Add shrimp, whisked coconut cream, frozen vegetables, the whites of green onions, and two dried bay leaves
4. Bring to a small boil, and then reduce to a simmer for twenty minutes
5. Pull out the bay leaves and add cayenne and lime
6. Let simmer for 5 more minutes, and then serve with broccoli or cauli-rice on the side

 

Stop shampooing your hair!

Stop shampooing your hair!

Today I want to share with you how I stopped shampooing my hair daily. I know this may sound disgusting (right up there with the day I stopped wearing make up).  I have always had thin hair.  I washed it daily, and I never thought anything of it.  Since I have greatly reduced the shampooing of my hair, I have noticed that it has gotten a little thicker, much healthier, and that my skin problems around my neckline are slowly starting to disappear.   Basically, I slowly started to decrease the number of times I washed my hair.

I do still wash my hair every once in a while when it gets really bad, but most of the time a solid rinsing is all my hair needs. I do not recommend using any baking soda or corn starch.  The point of this is to re-balance the pH of your hair and scalp by letting your hair naturally balance.  I did the same for my face a long time ago.  I just STOPPED washing it, and a few months later, my skin cleared up.

Give your body a chance to just be.  Go wild.  Be natural.  The sexiest thing a woman can wear is her confidence, so be confident with your all-natural self.

No Shampoo Guide

Mount Yonah | Cleveland, Georgia

Mount Yonah | Cleveland, Georgia

Mount Yonah Georgia Hike dayhiked.com-5Last weekend David and I went to Mount Yonah (in Cleveland, GA) with some friends.  We’ve hiked it several times, but I just wanted to post about it today because it was incredible! The leaves were just starting to come out, and the weather was perfect.  It was one of those hikes where climbing off the mountain is the last possible thing you would ever want to do, that is until your stomach starts growling to tell you that it is time for food. If you are living in Georgia and looking for a fun weekend adventure, you should check out this mountain.  It isn’t far from Helen, which means that you can easily make a weekend trip out of your visit.  The hike itself is only about a mile and half up, but it can get pretty intense at times, so make sure you bring enough water and some healthy snacks to enjoy when you get to the top.

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Make sure you take a moment to explore the rim of the top of the mountain, as it doesn’t just end at the first overlook.  The very top has a nice, flat clearing that many people use to camp.  Every time we go, we see some awesome tents and hammocks filled with happy people.  They have some fire pits already set up, so grab some friends, an old tent, and head up there sometime!

Mount Yonah Georgia Hike dayhiked.com-12Mount Yonah Georgia Hike dayhiked.com-9Mount Yonah Georgia Hike dayhiked.com-10Mount Yonah Georgia Hike dayhiked.com-11


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What we packed:
Camel packs (I brought 1.5 liters of water)
Camera (this obvious :))
Phone (4G all the way up!)
2 Bananas
Cashews
Sunflower Seeds
Sunscreen (look how pale we are, this is always a must)
Binoculars (these came in handy when we wanted to check out the wine vineyard below)
Good Company (this is also a must, because who wants to travel up a mountain with bad company?)

What we should have packed:
Two jackets (the wind was like whipping icicles)
More food

Mount Yonah Georgia Hike dayhiked.comWhat we wore:Mount Yonah Georgia Hike dayhiked.com-13
Short sleeves–with a tank top underneath, pants, and vibram five-fingers (me)
Short sleeves, shorts, and tennis shoes (David)

How to Peel the Labels off Your Kombucha Bottles

How to Peel the Labels off Your Kombucha Bottles

Brewing your own kombucha is a fun way to save money and get the exact flavor and consistency you want.  If you don’t already know how to brew your own, please see my other post here.  Part of the brewing process is bottling.  A great way to cut back on your waste and decrease consumer demand is to reuse your old kombucha bottles. I usually drink GTs when we are out of the good stuff at home. Their bottles are perfect for brewing, and they add that nice carbonation that we all love about kombucha.

Below is a video I made to show you how quick and painless it can be to peel those labels off of your bottles. Think of all of the possibilities there are for reuse:

  • Bottling any drink (think club soda and lime on a hot summer day)
  • Storing any nuts, seeds, coffee beans, or any other dried food
  • Decorations (I’m thinking chalkboard paint and fun stencils)
  • Bringing a homemade drink with you to work
  • A water bottle at work (no plastic here, thank you- just leave the lid off)
  • A gift for a friend who is also brewing his or her own kombucha
  • A very unique mixed-drink glass
  • A cute pencil holder (put a ribbon around the rim, voila!)
  • Massive spice rack
  • I could go on, the possibilities are endless


If peeling the labels off your own bottles isn’t your thing, you can always order some bottles from amazon.  I’ve never tried these, but they seem like they would work great.

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