Butternut Squash Meatball Breakfast

Saturday mornings are my favorite.  I wake up, run, drink coffee, grocery shop and cook.  There are not many things I love more than spending the morning in the kitchen whipping up a meal (okay – I love my boyfriend, cats, family, friends and sparkling wine more – in no particular order).  When one of the first free Saturdays in weeks rolled up, I had a mish mash of ideas of what I wanted to make.  Here is what I had to work with:

1 sweet potato that NEEDED to be used.

I decided to go with some kind of bowl with a fried egg on top.  After walking through the grocery store with an extremely empty stomach, I settled on turkey meatballs with a butternut squash sauce and swoodles (see below).

Swoodles: Sweet Potato Noodles – I recently discovered the Zoodle Maker which is a tool used to grind zucchini into a spaghetti-like shape.  It’s actually really great and can be used for a number of other veggies, too.  I.E.: Swoodles! (See photo below).

Swoodles: Sweet Potato Noodles

Swoodles: Sweet Potato Noodles

I threw the Swoodles in with some homemade turkey meatballs and Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce.

Butternut Squash Turkey Meatball Swoodles

Butternut Squash Turkey Meatball Swoodles

Since the single sweet potato did not make quite as much as I expected, I also made some quinoa which resulted in the layering as so:

1st layer: Quinoa

2nd layer: Meatball/Swoodle/Sauce

3rd layer: Mozzarella Cheese (I also had this at home, but admittedly realized the way home from the store that I really needed a good soft rich goat cheese – next time!)

4th layer: Fried Egg

Butternut Squash Swoodles with Quinoa and Egg

Butternut Squash Swoodles with Quinoa and Egg

Let me tell you, I was full from this meal from 11am to 7pm!


1lb Lean Turkey

1 Chopped Onion

Sprinkle salt/pepper

Sprinkle Basil (fresh and dried)

Sprinkle Rosemary (fresh)

Sprinkle Oregano (fresh)

2 eggs

1/4 cupish bread crumbs

Grease pan and ball in 2 inchish balls and bake for 20 minutes.

Once Meatballs are finished, spoon into sauce with Swoodles and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve by self or over quinoa, brown rice, potatoes or other!  Add cheese and egg as preferred!




Sip & Stroll

This weekend is the Gig Harbor (WA) Food and Wine Festival and it kicked off last night with the “Sip & Stroll” which was a wine, beer, liquor and food tasting all along the beautiful Gig Harbor waterfront.  The Gig Harbor Food and Wine Festival is in it’s fifth year, but this was the first year for the Sip & Stroll, which will surely become the festival’s staple kick-off for years to come.  One of many highlights shown below from Heritage Distilling Company’s tasting room, where they were serving up an array of classics with a twist:

Heritage Distilling Co. Sip&Stroll

Bevanda (n): Italian working meaning: drink, beverage, or fizz. By: Heritage Distilling Co.




Happy New Year!

Like everyone else, the beginning of a new year represents a fresh start for me.  I reminisce on the past year, thinking fondly and sometimes not so fondly of moments that I hope to or hope to not remember forever.  It can be difficult to avoid dwelling on what was not accomplished.  The key is to remember that tomorrow is always a new day, and whether it is January 1st or August 15th, you can resolve to make positive changes in your life any time of the year.  That being said, I have a few of my own that I will be starting…today, though I may choose to tack on more throughout the year.  My goal: make it all 52 weeks without giving up.  Frequent gym goers are familiar with the “January Crowd” – The people that resolve to better themselves by working out, but come February, the gym, like-clockwork, slims down again (pun intended?) when people quit, get too busy and give up.  I challenge you this year to make time for your resolutions.  Don’t be a “January Crowd”.  Push yourself, so that next year, your resolution will not be the same as last year and the year before and the year before and the year before….. but positive additions to your lifestyle.

This year I gained new members to the family and lost some others.  For the family we gained, I love you with my heart.  It is hard to believe there was a time without you because you fit in as if you were always there.  For those we lost, I resolve to remember you everyday.  Remember how you touched our lives, but not dwelling on the last conversation I’d wished we had.

This was my best year yet, I hope 2014 is even better.  Cheers!





Watch “Shark Tank” tonight at 9/8c on ABC


I have a soft spot in my heart for local products, and an even softer spot in my heart for local products by people I know. A gal H and I went to high school with has gone from selling a family recipe at local farmers markets to selling to supermarkets across the country. Click here to see Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles’ official website.

Tonight, the pickles are going up against the sharks on ABC’s “Shark Tank”, a show where people present business concepts and strategies to high profile investors to try and gain financial backing.  See what the sharks have to say about Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles on tonight’s season premiere episode!  I can’t wait!  Good Luck, Aly!

Photo from Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lynnaesgourmetpickles

Photo from Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lynnaesgourmetpickles



Tuesday Shoesday – Flats or Sandals?

Flats are storming spring and summer by rage this year and I have to say – I am loving this trend.  As the summer months get hotter, it may be tough motivation to slip your sweaty soles into a less than breezy flat.  No need to fuss though, Dolce Vita has compromised for you.

DV by Dolce Vita 'Zen' Sandal

DV by Dolce Vita ‘Zen’ Sandal can be found at Nordstrom.com – currently on sale for $52.89

The “Zen” sandal-flat will be super cute all summer long and will give your toes the fresh air they crave.  Available in Black, Cognac, Sea Blue and White.  I went for the Cognac to be sure they will go with almost anything, but I’m tempted to dive in with the Sea Blue as well…



Tuesday Shoesday: Festival Chic

As summer approaches we are in prime time for festivals.  With Coachella kicking off the 2013 season where I drool, gag, lust and horror over the celebrities outfits posted all over the internet and magazines.  Then after pouring over my instagram full of friends attending Stagecoach this past weekend, I couldn’t help my excitement for the upcoming summer of Sassquatch, Beer Fests, Tastes of and Bites of, Block Parties and Food Truck Meet-Ups.  Being who I am…I wonder…what shoes best fit these occasions, and how does one achieve “Festival Chic”?

I think being Festival Chic is about rocking the things you love that you can’t wear in the dreary winter months.  Bright colors, odd patterns, fringe – all at a fraction of the size that is normally acceptable in public?  I think it’s about feeling great in something you can wear the whole time.  I say this from the personal experience at The Gorge Amphitheater where the walk to and from camping is at least a mile.  Whatever festival you are attending this summer – here are my picks for shoes.

For the hippie-chic look. Planning on spending most time on flat ground and out of the grass. Perfectly paired with a maxi skirt or dress. -Steve Madden $110


For the rustic chic look with a few color options including yellow. Great with shorts and skinny jeans. – Anthropologie $89

Classic Toms with a Boho twist – Crochet. Perfect for shorts, skinnies, leggings, maxis, minis and anything in between. – Toms $58

Sure, Birkenstock doesn’t always get a lot of love, but honestly – How can you not love the new colors that come in this Earth Momma Chic shoe? Super comfortable – you could even wear them to The Gorge! -Birkenstock $120

Happy Festivalling!





My favorite things about Nairobi

As a begin to pack my things and prepare for the journey home, I have been reflecting about the things I like about Nairobi.  The truth is, it’s a hard place to love.  With a nickname like, “Nairobbery” you are constantly on the lookout.  The upcoming election brings fear of the reoccurring violence Kenyan elections are known for.  Luxury weekend getaways such as Mombasa and Lamu have become notorious unsafe places for travelers.  The city is filthy and littered with garbage and holds the absolute worst traffic known to man.  Despite all this, I have found things that I really love about this place…

  • Mangos are not seasonal, in fact they are good all the time.  Once you get the hang of how to cut into them, you are golden.


  • Every ex-patriot wants to be your friend.  They have all been there – in a foreign place where they know no one – it’s like a secret society where everyone is nice.  I love it.  They all have connections all over the world too, so they say things like, “if you ever go to…call me and I’ll have my friend show you around”.  So in return to you friendly people – call me if you come to Seattle.
  • I have met more people from more different places in the last three months than I have my entire life.  Here are the origins, from what I can remember, of the people I’ve met here (I’m sure I’m forgetting some):
    • Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Poland, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Tanzania, Spain, Ireland, New York, California, Tennessee, Sweden, Japan, Virginia, Austria, Germany, France, Zambia, Namibia and Rwanda
  • Outside of the city, it’s really beautiful.  You see more exotic (and some not-so-exotic) animals than you can in a zoo.  Let me see if I can name all the ones I’ve seen:
    • Elephants, Rhinos, Flamingos, Monkeys, Baboons, Zebras, Antelope, Gazelles, Geckos (in my house!), Ostriches, Horses, Camels, Lizards, Giraffes, Cows, Cats, Dogs, Chickens, Goats and Donkeys
  • A lot of things you can buy are benefitting something.  For example:
    • The bag I referred to in the What’s Not to LOVE? post I did last week gives proceeds back to the fishermen and their community in Lamu, Kenya.
    • Kenana Knitter Critter creates charming designs using all-natural homespun wool bought from local Kenyan women.  Money earned by Kenana Knitters goes directly to the women who are able to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families through knitting adorable critters such as this owl-
Knitter Critter Owl

Knitter Critter Owl

    • Pendeza Weaving is a company that uses handspun yarn from locally grown organic cotton, sheared wool and silk to create amazing textiles.  Purchasing their products supports the Pendeza Weaving Project which helps to keep a child free from malnutrition, enable a child access education, enable the girl child access sanitary towels, enable a family access to clean drinking water, enable those living with HIV/AIDS access proper nutrition to boost their immunity, save the environment and decrease global warming and provide descent housing to the destitute community members of rural Bondo.
    • Proceeds from Mara wine go helping Kenyan women provide food, shelter and education to their families.  Proceeds can also help support their entrepreneurships.
Mara Wine - with wine jewelry!

Mara Wine – with wine jewelry!

  • There are some truly unique and fantastic gates and driveway entries around.



  • They have the highest quality coffee company – Dormans Coffee – in the world…though I might be bias!
  • Chai tea.  To follow up on the recipe from Chai on my Mind posted a couple months ago, I’ve learned that for the extra chai kick to your tea to add cinnamon and cardamon.
  • Stoney soda.  It’s a ginger soda with a zing!  Delicious!


  • Did I mention charming co-workers who bring me bananas?
Joseph and I

Joseph and I

There are lots of things I really like about Nairobi and the above only scratches the surface.



Kiambethu Tea Farm

A couple weeks ago I went to Kiambethu Tea Farm for a lunch in the garden and tour.  I found the rolling hills covered in tea really beautiful, and the lunch in the garden was delicious and scenic.  They also had several animals roaming the area including some adorable pups and cows who’s milk is used for homemade ice cream.

Lunch in the garden

Lunch in the garden


A tree that people used to come to for worship

Weiner dog

Weiner dog


Ice cream cows!



If you come to the Nairobi area, check out Kiambethu Tea Farm in Limuru for a fun afternoon.