Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Nick and I are staying in tonight and passing out candy to trick-or-treaters. How are you spending the night?

pssst - I also announced the winner of my first giveaway. Thank you to those who entered.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dreamy Butternut Squash Mac 'N' Cheese

Ladies and gents, I have a healthy + tasty recipe for you today -- Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese! I ordered a new cookbook last week and on Friday Cook Yourself Sexy arrived! Candice Kumai aka the Stiletto Chef did not disappoint with her second solo cookbook.  Last year I purchased Pretty Delicious and Nick and I loved so many of the recipes (like this one & this one) I had to buy the new book. Plus I love that all the recipes are healthy and clean.

This time around Candice even includes a seven day meal menu for a sexy you! It's not a cookbook written around dieting, but eating healthy and wholesome dishes that taste oh so good!


Serves 6

Mac 'N' Cheese
2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeded, then quartered and sliced into triangles
6 garlic cloves
1 thyme sprig
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock 
1 pound small elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons grated Gruyere

Herbed Breadcrumb Topping
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Preheat oven to 375
In a large saucepan, add the butternut squash, garlic cloves, thyme sprig, unsweetened almond milk and stock. Cook until the butternut squash is fork-tender and remove the sprig of thyme.

Place squash mixture in a food processor or blender and puree until velvety smooth.

Meanwhile cook macaroni until al dente.
Spread drained macaroni in lightly greased 13x9 inch pan. Pour squash puree over the noodles.

Combine all the ingredients for the herbed breadcrumb topping.

Cover the mac 'n' cheese with foil, place in the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and evenly spread the breadcrumb topping and gruyere over the top. Transfer to the broiler and broil for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Linked to: 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hiking Lake Tahoe :: High Meadow Road & Cold Creek Loop

The title should really read: A Snowy Walkabout. Last week we received more snow than predicted, about 1-3 ft depending on elevation. Either way it didn't stop my friend Arica and I from getting out with the dogs yesterday -- it was a nice 60 degrees. 

Cold Creek Loop/ High Meadows Road both feed into Powerline Trail and are know as mountain bike trails. Although we both agreed a bike ride would have been nice, we knew there was probably still snow on the ground and didn't want to press our luck. However we did see one brave soul mountain biking in the snow!

I would consider the hike a moderately easy. Although we weren't keeping track we probably hiked for 2 hours and about 5 miles.

It was nice to venture out, stretch the legs and run the dogs. Bonus: Roxy was out cold shortly after getting home.

Top Row: Snow Capped Mountains
Bottom Row: Aspen Leaf in the snow & Roxy being a sweet girl

Getting there:

From South Lake Tahoe take Pioneer Trail west, turn left on High Meadow Road. Take the road until it dead ends. You can park in the lot and bike or hike from there. Another option: if the forest service gate it open you can drive all the back to the High Meadow trailhead.

What I Wore:

Camelbak (similar)

What's in my pack for Roxy:

Collapsible Water Bowl (similar)
2 cups of food
Treats (for my pocket)

Snowy trail ahead.

If you haven't already, don't forget to enter my H20 at Home giveaway.

Linked to:
Leeann at Join the Gossip, Sami at  Sami's Shenanigans & Dana at five30three for Weekend Update and with Hayley at Weekend File and Alli at Life on LeRoy for Life Lately

Friday, October 26, 2012

Giveaway: H2O at Home

Happy Friday! I'm hosting my first giveaway. If you're like me you're not a big fan of cleaning but you like a clean house. So why not make cleaning simple and easy! 

One of my favorite products is the all-in-one cleaner from H2O-at-Home. You really can clean everything using it. I mostly use it in the bathroom and kitchen. Cleaning the inside of my fridge has never been easier!  The best part it's all natural!

Explore natural, organic and innovative collection of products designed to make caring for your home, family and self simple and safe here.

One lucky winner will recieve:

All-in-One Kit ($29 value)
This 100% natural and biodegradable product will be your go-to cleanser for any kitchen, bathroom or outdoor chore. The gentle but potent formula will cut through baked-on food, grease, grime and scum. There’s not much this product can’t do. Non-toxic and food safe.

Kit Includes:
-Natural Clay Powder
-White Sponge

-Heavy Duty Chiffonnette

For more details click here.

I'm also hosting a online shopping event. All orders ($25 or more before tax & shipping) placed before midnight, Tuesday, October 30 will receive a double sided microfiber sponge, value $4. Click here to shop.

Note: you will receive the sponge separate from your order


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Psst- One more thing, regardless of the fact that I say H2O at home, this wasn’t paid or perked by them or anyone else -- just me trying to share a product I love.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DIY Upholstered Headboard

I've been busy working on the guest bedroom. On the headboard to be exact. I've always loved the upholstered headboard look. Like the Crate and Barrel one below, but they typically come with a hefty price tag. Since I can be crafty I figured why not DIY one myself! And so I began -- mission upholstered headboard.

What you'll need:
1 sheet of plywood cut down to 36 x 64 (For a queen bed -- $20 and the store cut it for us!)
2 Yards Fabric (I found some at Joanns on the 50% off rack for a whooping total of $16)
Staple Gun & Staples
Quilt batting (I bought two 72 x 90 pre cut at $5.50 each from Joanns)
Rubber Mallet ($5 Lowes)
Nailhead Trim ($21 delivered)
Jigsaw (only if you plan to cut a design) 
Mounting bracket ($4)
Nail-nosed pliers (optional)

Step 1: 
Lay plywood on a nice sturdy table.

Step 2:
Draw pattern

Step 3:
Slowing start making your cut using the jigsaw. Nick sat back and watched.

Tip: take it slow don't force it.

After the first side was cut I used it to mark the other side to ensured symmetry.


Step 4:
Using a clean surface (in the house) I laid out the first roll of quilt batting. Next I stapled one end down then moved to the other end where I pulled the batting tight then stapled. Once each end was stapled I moved to the bottom of the headboard then the top and repeated -- pull tight and staple.

 Nick was laughing because I must have used a few hundred staples. Once the first layer was finished I checked out the front for wrinkles etc before proceeding with the second layer of batting and finally the fabric.

Note: If the headboard was going in the mater bedroom I would have used three layers of batting.

Step 5:

Nail in the trim. Sorry I didn't take any photos -- I was too busy getting pissed at the trim. This is not an easy step. I used needle-nosed pliers to hold the nail with one hand and hammered with the rubber mallet in the other. What is nice about the trim is you only need to hammer every fifth nail.  Those little nail's kept wanting to go sideways. I definitely had a few "re-do's." Good news, the further along I went the better I was.

Note: The trim is sharp and might cut your fingers.

Step 6:

Hang it on the wall or attach it to your bed frame. We opted to hang it on the wall. This was another frustrating step for me. We decided to use interlocking D hooks and will NEVER use them again. It was a major pain hanging the headboard and resulted with scratches on the wall! not a happy camper. I think something like this would have been better/easier for mounting it to the wall or even just attaching it to the bed frame.

When all said and done it looked a little like this.....

another angle

fabric and trim up close

There you have it -- a DYI headboard all in a weekend for about $70. So who's ready to tackle their own headboard? Or maybe you've made one. I would love to hear your thoughts on wall mounting vs. attaching it to the bed frame.

Guest Bedroom update:

To Do's:
  • purchase down alternative comforter - looking at the one at Costco for $150 (not to mention we'll get 2% back)
  • purchase duvet cover
  • move headboard from master bedroom (made one instead)
  • re-purpose/paint two nightstands currently in room
  • change ceiling lamp
  • fix built- in hinges
  • change built-in handles (not sure I want to keep the current ones) 
  • order art & frame
  • find long mirror
  • purchase occasional chair or pouf -- maybe even make one.
Linked to:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tasty Tuesdays :: Apple Crisp

Nearly a week has passed since my trip down to Apple Hill, but Sunday I finally made an apple crisp for Nick. And boy do I have the easiest recipe for you.
Recipe Source: Food Network

Of course  it wasn't even out of the oven 5 minutes before nick was helping himself to a bowl. It's best served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!



5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped small
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the filling:
Mix all the ingredients together. Place into 7 to 8-ounce ramekins.

For the topping:
Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in pecans and sprinkle over filling.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
SERVES: 8 (DESSERT); Calories: 305; Total Fat 14 grams; Saturated Fat: 6 gram; Protein: 3 grams; Total carbohydrates: 46 grams; Sugar: 29 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Cholesterol: 23 milligrams; Sodium: 80 milligrams

Linked to: Tasty Tuesdays

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hiking Lake Tahoe :: Round Lake

Considering it snowed last night it's comical I'm blogging about hiking, but yesterday I squeezed in one last Fall hike. My friend Arica and I layered up, loaded up the pups and headed out to Round Lake for a little leaf peeping. The Aspens are so beautiful right now!

To get to Round Lake, park in the Big Meadows parking area and cross the highway and you'll see the trail head -- start hiking. The hike is fairly easy and only 6.2 miles round trip. Don't let the first part of the trail scare you as it's a bit steeper and rocky. Before you know it the trail opens up to a big meadow. At this point the pups were running laps around each other!

If you're looking for wildflowers this is a great hike June/July as everything is green and blooming.

Three miles later we arrived at our destination. Can you tell in the picture below it was a little windy? The crazy dogs even jumped in the water.

Yup - Here I am trying to take a picture with my sweet girl and all she wants is someone to throw the stick for her.

It was a great way to start Sunday off. I was home by noon with plenty of time to bake an apple crisp, tend to house chores and watch the SF Gaints!

How to get there: 
From South Lake Tahoe, take hwy 50 towards Sacramento, turn left (east) onto highway 89 (Luther Pass). Follow highway 89 up towards Luther Pass, turn left into the Big Meadow parking area about a mile  before Luther pass. Park in this lot where you will also find a restroom and information center. It is easy to miss the left turn into the lot, but if you get to where the road flattens out and you can see a large grass meadow to the right, you’ve gone too far.

Linking up with:

Leeann at Join the Gossip, Sami at Sami's Shenanigans & Dana at five30three for Weekend Update

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday's Fancies :: Winter Jackets

Mountain Wear

Left to right:
The Puffy: Patagonia // prAna // Marmot  // The North Face
Rain Jacket: Columbia // Merrell // Patagonia // Lolë 
Après: Merrell // prAna // Patagonia  // EMU

Halloween is quickly approaching and we actually have rain/snow in our forecast so what better time than now to share my Fall/Winter jacket picks for any mountain getaway. Today it's all about off the hill fun and functional fashion.  Anyone who's looked in my closet knows I have more jackets then one person needs, but each one serves a different need.

Let's start with the
"puffy." There all all sorts of puffy's out there, but if you're going to rock one invest in a jacket that will last multiple seasons. My favorite is the Patagonia Downtown Loft jacket, it's perfect for all things off the hill.  It has a nice length and cut plus it's water repellant and blocks the wind. Runner up -- Marmot Jena Down. Why? because it's great when you need to layer.

Rain jackets are perfect for layering or worn alone. During Fall months I'll rock a rain jacket with a sweater or down vest under for cozy goodness. For me, it's a tie between the Patagonia Rain Shadow and Columbia Compounder shell (full review by Eric Miller). Both will protect you from rain and well light snow, but if it's snowing layer up as these are not insulated.

Of course I saved the best for last! Who doesn't love to go out after a long day on the hill. It's still cold out, but there's no need to rock your ski jacket unless it's dumping snow. The Merrell Aubrey is one of my favorite winter jackets. The toggles add just a bit of detail, plus there's a hood just in case you're caught in inclement weather. If you haven't caught on I love all things Patagonia so naturally when I saw their new winter line I fell in love with the Pelage Coat. It looks so warm and cozy and perfect for girls night out in the city or mountains.

You don't have to lived in the mountains to rock these jackets, but remember it's worth investing in performance gear. Now you just have to decide on the color.

xo, Tiara 

Linked to: Friday's Fancies