Cool Thing Friday #5 - Happy News, New Teeth & Burning Man

Don't you like it when a bad story turns out good?  That's what happened here.
This dude

photo via

was riding his bike when some jackholes thought it would be fun to throw a cone at him.
Not cool.
He crashed, got a concussion and busted out his front teeth.
His friends started a Facebook campaign to get him some new choppers, good job friends.
Then a dentist stepped forward and said he'd do the work under the condition that the friends donate the money raised to a charity.  The dentist hopes the charity will be the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, as his daughter suffers from the disease.
The best part of this is what the dentist said, dude is still smiling!
Bad news turned good is always a cool thing!  You can read the full story here.

But wait!  I've got another cool thing for you!
Ariel Burning Man photos!  (All pics are from here).

As a past attendee I like to say everyone should go to Burning Man at least once.
It really is more than just a freak show in the desert.

Well.  Sort of.
What was most impressive to me about Burning Man was the amount of work put into it.
It really is an entire city that pops up in the desert, and then disappears.

There's lots of great artwork too.

There are more photos in the link above.

Happy 3 Day Weekend!
Don't forget to check out my Labor Day Eats ideas too!

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Labor Day BBQ Eats

Oh my, our summer is coming to an end.  For those of you who live in places with real seasons that fact is really true.  Here in Sacramento, it should continue to be hot until about the end of September, then start turning Fall-ish for real around October.  I'm simply ignoring the fact that I've already started to see some leaves start to drop.

What are your plans for this Labor Day weekend?  We have a family BBQ on deck.  The Cyclist's family knows how to cook it up right, so you can be sure I'm excited about the plate of ribs that will be waiting for me.

I've compiled some recipe ideas for your Labor Day weekend activities too!

For The Grill - Lot's of yummy hamburger and hot dog alternatives for you here.  Prepare the meet in advance and bring it to your grilling destination!

Click here for the recipe

Click here for the recipe

Salmon Cakes with Creamy Dill Sauce - click here for the recipe

Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce - click here for the recipe

Turkey Burger with Fresh Herbs - click here for the recipe

Sides - Is someone else doing the grilling for you?  Awesome.  That's my kind of BBQ!  If all is required is a side, check out these tasty ideas...

Click here for the recipe

Click here for the recipe

Corn Salsa!  Click here for the recipe

Costa Rican Black Bean Dip - click here for the recipe

Click here for the recipe

Prosciutto Caprese - click here for the recipe

Frozen TreatsOK, so these are frozen obviously and might not work if you're heading to a BBQ at a park or lake or anywhere that doesn't have a freezer for you.  But if the BBQ is at your house or someone else's, bringing a frozen treat on a hot day is always a score.

Click here for the recipe

Click here for the recipe

Click here for the recipe

Click here for the recipe

Other Treats - No freezer where you're going?  These treats should do just fine.

Click here for the recipe

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Double Cool Thing Friday {#4} - A sweet bus and PANYL

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation?  It's been busy this week!
All I can say is TGIF.
And since it's Friday, I've got not one but TWO cool things for ya.

First, check out Hank and his totally awesome final project.  I would so rock this bus!
I'm kind of bummed we just missed them in Yellowstone.

(images from  ↑)

Second, PANYL.  I think this should totally be in the super-awesome-cool-thing category.  I am so wanting to try this stuff out.  These are adhesive panels specifically designed for Ikea furniture.  Ikea hack anyone?  This is such a great idea.


My design bug is itching but we haven't even found our new house yet, so I guess I'll have to keep pinning my ideas!
P.S. I heard about PANYL on Better After, a great blog you should check out!

Happy Friday!!!

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Cool Thing Friday...On Tuesday #3

Since we were vacaying last week (kicking item #1 off the bucket list), I owe you 2 cool things!
So, I'm making up my cool thing Friday today....on Tuesday.

A Cup of Jo is a blog I regularly read and enjoy.  Jo's posts are typically quick and vary over many different subjects.  Lately I've been loving her series Motherhood Around the World.  In this series she has guest posts from mother's who reside in all kinds of places and discuss the parenting differences there, including lots of great photos.  I've found it super interesting and hope you do too.  The latest family is in Mexico.

All images via A Cup of Jo/On Parenting in Mexico

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Steak Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette

I have a confession to make.  Sometimes I create things and I don't share them with you.
I'm sorry.
But sometimes I'm too hungry and I eat it.
And sometimes I'm too tired and I eat it.
Sometimes it's too dark to take a picture of it.
Sometimes the pictures don't make the food look appetizing.
Case in point:  Have you ever tried to photograph meatloaf?  It's not the most beautiful of meals.

In the beginning, this wasn't a big problem.
I made dinner and then used my janky point and shoot camera  from 1985 to show you stuff like this:

Don't get me wrong, Tasty Turkey Taco Towers are definitely tasty, but that photo?
Not so much.
I think all food bloggers sometimes wish we could go back and re-photograph our original posts, but I don't think anyone really ever does.
I think it's nice to see the evolution.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment.  :)

I have a big girl camera now and the pressure for a good photo is on.  YOU deserve a good photo!
But sometimes.  Oh sometimes.
Sometimes those photos just don't get taken.  And those recipes just have to wait.
This steak salad has been waiting to meet you.
I'm sorry I couldn't introduce you sooner, but I hope now you can be friends for life.
Because Mr. Steak Salad is good.  Really good.
Please enjoy and don't be mad that I kept him from you for so long.

Before we start let's discuss cheese.  I've used both a Blue Gouda * and a Gorgonzola Dolce*.  Being cheese, both were of course, delicious.  In this recipe I have to say I preferred the Blue Gouda; I bought mine at our local Italian grocer.  The bottom line is, pick a good quality cheese, it will really make the recipe!


2 small NY strip steaks
1-2 tablespooons olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
3/4-1 head green leaf lettuce, hand torn and washed (or your favorite lettuce, I like butter lettuce, so I put some of that too)
1/2 small red onion sliced thin
4-6 dates pitted and chopped
10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
Your favorite bleu/blue, Roquefort, Camembert or Gorgonzola cheese

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon creamed horseradish
2 cloves crushed garlic (or just one if you're not a garlic lover like me)
Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste

How to:

Remove steaks from fridge 45 minutes-1 hour prior to cooking (this gets them to room temperature for more even cooking).
Prepare the steaks for grilling - rub steaks with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Grill steaks on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until the steaks reach desired temperature - we like our steaks medium rare.
While the steaks are grilling, place your cleaned lettuce in a bowl and top with red onions, dates, cherry tomatoes and whichever fabulous cheese you chose.
Prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients in one container and shake well.
Once the steaks are done, slice them thin and place on top of salad.  Dress salad to your liking.


*This is an affiliate link.  If you click it and buy something you will be helping the blog, thanks!

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Insta Roadtrip Day 1

We drove from Sacramento to Island Park, ID yesterday. Twelve hours later we arrived at our family cabin in the woods. 

Here is part one of our adventure via Instagram.....

1:45 a.m. Departure.

Almost 5:00 a.m. Somewhere in NV.

Liger's Blood Slurpee. Awesome.

Sunrise. NV.

Lots of road ahead.

Pit stop in Jackpot.

Welcome to ID.

ID sky.

ID giant windmill.

Boy and dog.

13 hours in the car is a long time!

And now to see wolves!!

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Let's Kickstart some Ananda Squares

Hi there friends.  I was recently contacted by Isaac from Ananda Foods.  They have a Kickstarter campaign going to launch their product, you can check it out here.

As Isaac explains in the video, the bars are made with Amaranth, a mighty grain with a nutritional value similar to Quinoa (another favorite of ours).  I immediately recognized the Amaranth plant as it is being sold at my local farmer's market and coincidentally, is also growing at a little farm right down the road from our new digs.  It is really pretty!

Isaac was kind enough to send me bite sized samples of each of the bars.  I was surprised at the lightness of the Amaranth.  It was not as dense and/or sticky as I suspected.  I'm curious to know how they are getting those grains to stick?!  It had a nutty light flavor.  My favorite bar sample was the fruit, really tasty.  I was starving when I ate the samples and I can honestly say the 3 little bites did take the edge off of my hungry belly.

Of course, being someone who typically would eat something like this while riding or running, I asked Isaac about the packaging which he says will be easy to open/tear.  This is especially good for someone like me who is neither graceful nor has very good bike handling skills!

I like supporting small organizations that I feel are doing something good.  If the Ananda Squares sound good to you or you just like the idea, I encourage you to support the Kickstarter campaign.

Have a good day!

P.S.  We leave for our road trip tomorrow.  I. Can't. Wait.

**I was not compensated for this post other than receiving (and eating) the three Ananda Square samples mentioned.  All opinion are completely my own.

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Cool Thing Friday #2

Somehow I managed to not bring you a post this week.  Boo.  I have some yummy things lined up in the photo queue so I hope to have those for you soon.  All this moving and temporary living makes it hard to find a routine.  My apologies.  I did however manage to find you a cool thing for Cool Thing Friday.

Has everyone been keeping up with last weeks cool thing - 40 Days of Dating?!  I cannot get enough of it! Will they work out, no, maybe?  It's killing me!

I'm excited to share this weeks cool thing!
May I introduce you to The Real Housewife of Ciudad Juarez.

via The Real Housewife of Ciudad Juarez

Emily moved to Mexico in 2010 because her husband is unable to apply for legal status in the U.S. until 2020. I heard about her on the latest episode of This American Life.  I totally recommend you listen to her segment, it is intriguing.  If Juarez sounds familiar to you it probably is - when Emily moved there it was the murder capital of the world.  Although I am filing this post under Cool Thing Friday, I don't know that I would call Emily's situation a "cool thing" but it certainly is interesting.  Is her decision to live in Mexico reckless? Misguided?  Selfish?  Insane?  Good?  Right?  Romantic?  Brave?  Reading Emily's blog and taking a peak into this extremely different life experience is eye-opening to say the least.  Although you may not agree with her decision, or all aspects of it, her desire and drive to stay with her husband makes for good reading.

So there you ago, another cool thing from the interweb.

Have a great weekend!


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