Follow your feet home again.

I love to wander.

Drop me into a strange city, and I’ll meander through the streets, temporarily and deliberately lost, but enthralled.

I’ve found the most magical places that way; from a cozy Scottish tea cafe (where I took shelter from the pouring rain) to a secluded, rocky oasis next to the roaring sea, this is how my favorite memories are made.

IMG_6698Don’t get me wrong — the internet is a fabulous tool when people go a-journeying, yet I find the adventure loses something when you pull up to the latest, greatest “cultural experience” where “all the locals go.”

Traveling by way of TripAdvisor, you build an idea up inside your head, determine how it “should” be and what you “should” feel ahead of time, and then when things don’t go exactly the way you’d planned in your mind’s eye, you find yourself, more often than not, disappointed.

If you follow your feet, you place no expectations on a place, a feeling, a day. Instead, you befriend locals, sample food you feel drawn to, explore little-seen nooks and crannies based on your heart’s whim, taste beverages that come recommended or sound quirky.

Wandering frees you from expectations and opens you up to surprise and spontaneity, the ambrosia and nectar of life.

Some of my wanderings:

The amount of travel I’ve done over the past year(ish) is dizzying. New Orleans & Baton Rouge, Denver, Phoenix, St. Augustine, Asheville, Denver (Again), San Francisco, Los Angeles, and now Cascais & Lisbon in Portugal.

Ultimately, I sat still only long enough to move to the East Coast.

While I covet the novelty of travel, I crave a warm homecoming with fiery fierceness.

The balance of adventuring and nesting is where happiness lies for me. I travel for pleasure and treasure, then lovingly spirit my wander-found totems home.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 6.30.46 PM.png

I have a space that I can call my own, and it feels like me. The value of ‘home’ can never be measured.

There is something special about making one’s house a home, of turning the lights off on our porch and holing up in our “dark castle”, as my beau likes to call it. Sometimes, I bring treasures I find on my travels back with me; other times, I curate the treasures that remind me of beauty I’ve seen.

In retrospect, I think I may be a dragon.

I like to be a little silly with my decor; I spent my entire childhood dreaming of all the different colors my house would be and how lovely I would make it. I will never understand people who want their houses to look like bland replicas of magazine advertisements; then again, I find joy in whimsy and lore, and choose to surround myself with it.

Knowing a warm space exists in the world, a place where I’m allowed and encouraged to be entirely ‘me’, where my critters wait for my return, where I cook dinners with and for the people I love, where I can nestle down under a mermaid-and-pirate-inspired canopy filled with twinkle lights, where I have lovingly crafted, arranged, and collected my treasures, each one a symbol for something I love… yeah, I’m most definitely a dragon.

Today, I am thankful for my travels, yet moreso for my cozy home.

Leash Courtesy

My boyfriend and I were hanging out on a patio at a brewery when a guy let his dog off-leash in the sitting area.

Which would be fine.. except our dog wasn’t happy with the other dog incessantly harassing her and was starting to get surly with the other dog. She’s never bitten another dog, but he was not listening to her body language. We decided to intervene, because we’re responsible dog owners.

We politely asked jerk-who-doesn’t-actually-care-about-what-happens-to-his-dog to please leash his puppy. The leash was on his table.

IMG_6279
Off-leash. Because she’s at home. No other doggos.

Jerk got REALLY upset about it.

How dare we politely ask him to leash his dog?

Him: “If your dog is crazy, she shouldn’t be out!”

Us: “Um, no dude. Our dog has been attacked by three dogs, two of whom were ‘nice’ off-leash dogs according to their owners. She’s older and just doesn’t like being bothered by younger dogs. Also, we don’t want yours to ever get hurt by another dog, so you should have your dog on a leash so that if that does happen, you can rescue him faster.”

Him: “YOUR DOG IS VICIOUS.”

Us: “No, she’s very nice and well-behaved as you can see from the way she’s hanging out mellowly behind us, she just doesn’t want another dog in her space.”

Him: “KEEP YOUR CRAZY DOG AWAY FROM MINE!”

Me: “Obviously you’re not understanding what we’re saying, so let me demonstrate.” *moves to sit at his table* “Are you enjoying this? Is this fun for you? Do you like me in your space?”

Him: “I mean.. uh… I’m fine with it.”

Me: “Cool, then I’m just going to sit here and bother you. Are you still enjoying this? Are you entertained? How about if I keep asking you questions, the same way your dog keeps sniffing at ours?”

Him: *makes some comment to my gentleman friend about how he should keep me on the leash or something equally sexist*

Us: “That is incredibly sexist, and also not the point. Put your dog on a leash; you’re technically breaking the law.”

Him: “I’m a lawyer!”

Us: “Oh, okay, let’s pull up Tennessee’s law and see what it has to say about dogs off-leash in public.”

I get up to get my computer, pull up the law, and start walking toward him with the .Gov website pulled up.

Him: “No, stop, go away!”

Us: “Well which is it? Do you want to know what the law says about this, or not?”

Him: “YOUR DOG IS VICIOUS.”

Us: “This is common courtesy. All dog owners should know this. Put your dog on a leash, especially if asked.”

Him: “I guess I’m just deficient in common courtesy.”

Me: “Which is astounding, because this is the south and you’d think courtesy was your second language.”

Him: “Just keep your dog away from mine.”

Us: “We will do so easily, because she’s on a leash.

So we sit there, working while they keep talking, and eventually my gentleman friend decided to write him a note of apology, explaining ending with “You’re lucky this time. Our dog is sweet. For your dog’s sake, may your luck never run out.”

And then we bought their beer as a gesture of good will (and to make a lasting impact, damn it), and left.

Good. God.

May the odds be ever in his dog’s favor. Poor puppers.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Wraps

Smoked salmon and cream cheese has to be one of the most iconic breakfast/brunch combinations. The flavors of punchy smoked salmon and delicate cream cheese match perfectly with the sharp onion…

Make it
10 minutes
Ingredients
∙ Serves 1

Seafood
2 oz Smoked salmon

Produce
1 Handful Arugula
1/2 tsp Basil, fresh or dried
1 1/4 oz Red onion

Baking & Spices
1 Pinch Pepper

Bread & Baked Goods
1 8-inch low carb flour tortilla, low carb

Dairy
2 tsp Cream cheese, low fat

via (22) Pinterest

Swoolz Modifications:

Add…

one to two tablespoons of fresh dill,

two or three teaspoons of creamed horse-radish

a tablespoon of lemon juice

to the cream cheese; substitute half the cream cheese for goat cheese.

Add…

salad greens

to the wrap.

SUPER tasty!

 

New Mexico Green Chile Breakfast Burritos

New Mexico Green Chile Breakfast Burritos

Recipe by: The Jazz Chef “Hatch green chile from New Mexico may be the most addictive substance on Earth. At the famed Chicago Dog in Santa Fe, New Mexico, they will line up in a blizzard to get their variation of this recipe. Dozens of local Santa Fe eateries, stands, gas stations and taco trucks make their own variation. This may be on the Heart Association hit list, but you will die with a smile on your face.”

Ingredients
40 m 6 servings 873 cals

1 clove garlic, minced 1 (8 ounce)

container frozen Hatch, New Mexico green chile peppers

1/2 cup chicken broth

12 strips bacon

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

6 (10 inch) flour tortillas

butter flavored cooking spray

12 extra large eggs, beaten

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 10 m
Cook

30 m
Ready In

40 m
Place the shredded potatoes in a bowl, cover with water, and set aside. Bring the onion, garlic, green chiles, and chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.

Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the sauce thickens; turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, place the strips of bacon on paper towels on a microwave-safe plate, and cook on High until crisp, about 1 minute per strip; set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Drain the potatoes, and add to the skillet. Spoon hot oil over the potatoes; sprinkle with the onion
powder, salt, and pepper. Flip the potatoes occasionally, but let them fry until crispy bits form and the potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Place the tortillas between two damp paper towels. Microwave on High until warm, about 30 seconds.

Spray a separate skillet with butter flavored cooking spray and cook the eggs over medium heat, whisking them continuously until the eggs are completely set; turn off the heat.

Lay a tortilla flat in front of you. Place some potatoes, scrambled egg, and a strip of bacon on the lower third, leaving about an inch of room from the bottom, and about 1-1/2 inches on the left and right clear for folding the burrito. Spoon on a little of the green chile sauce, and sprinkle with Cheddar cheese.

Fold the left and right edges into the middle about 1-1/2 to 2 inches. Take the bottom edge closest to you with the stuffing and pick it up, pulling it OVER the filling, while keeping the sides in place until that edge now touches the tortilla about 7/8 of the way up to the top edge. Check to see that the sides are still tucked well. If they aren’t slide them in a bit now that you have the filling covered. Finish by tucking the bottom flap that you pulled over the filling UNDER the filling a bit to seal it, then continue rolling the burrito up to the top edge, forming a tight cylinder. Let it rest seam-side down, and it will stay nice and tight. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Footnotes
Tip
Aluminum foil helps keep food moist, ensures it cooks evenly, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.

via New Mexico Green Chile Breakfast Burritos Recipe – Allrecipes.com

Verdict: Not quite Santiago’s breakfast burritos; I think the secret is the green chili. Will work on this!

Gnocchi with White Beans Recipe | Taste of Home

GNOCCHI WITH WHITE BEANS RECIPE

Here’s one of those no-fuss gnocchi recipes you can toss together and cook in one skillet. Ideal for a busy weeknight, it’s also good with crumbled Italian chicken sausage if you need to please meat lovers. —Julianne Meyers, Hinesville, Georgia
Featured In: 27 Recipes for One-Pot Meals

MAKES:
6 servings
TOTAL TIME:
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
RATE COMMENT SAVE PRINT
VERIFIED BY Taste of Home Test Kitchen
HEALTHY QUICK CONTEST WINNER

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 package (16 ounces) potato gnocchi
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add gnocchi; cook and stir 5-6 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in beans, tomatoes, spinach and pepper; heat through.
Sprinkle with cheeses; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.
Editor’s Note: Look for potato gnocchi in the pasta or frozen foods section.
Originally published as Gnocchi with White Beans in Healthy Cooking December/January 2011, p51
35 Red, White and Blue Desserts

NUTRITIONAL FACTS
1 cup: 307 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 13mg cholesterol, 789mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 6g fiber), 13g protein.

via Gnocchi with White Beans Recipe | Taste of Home

Verdict: Super tasty and filling! I might add a can of tomato paste or spicy rotel to give it a little extra kick. We used Goat Mozzarella to keep it a touch healthier. We also might use just pure goat cheese to give it a touch more flavor.

Here’s to the fools who dream.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you  to achieve it.” – Paulo Coehlo

One year ago today, I received the email that irrevocably changed the course of my life:

“Hi Sarah, I work on the hiring team at Automattic, and would like to chat about your recent Happiness Engineer application.”

This was the moment I stopped wistfully making other plans, and began living, truly living, my life by my rules.

One year later, I find my heart overflowing with joy at the irreplaceable friendships I’ve forged since that afternoon and the myriad adventures I’ve embarked upon.

Piece by piece, I am reclaiming myself.

Here’s to making beautiful messes, taking risks, and charging boldly ahead.

“If you trust your rebel heart, ride it into battle–don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled.”

The chances we don’t take are the ones that haunt us at night; the risks we do bravely pursue keep us satisfied company in the dark hours of the morning, even when we fall flat on our faces.

Tomorrow begins day 366. Carpe diem.

My life. My path. My rules.

Here’s to year two.