Life, Love, and Tacos

A blog about pretty much everything.

What Do You Think?

Hey Guys!

So, I stumbled across this little story yesterday, and I wanted to share it:

“HOW CAN WE BE HAPPY ?

Once a group of 50 people was attending a seminar.
Suddenly the speaker stopped and decided to do a group activity. He started giving each one a balloon. Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.

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Now these delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes. Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other, pushing around others and there was utter chaos.

At the end of 5 minutes no one could find their own balloon.
Now each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it.
Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.

The speaker began— exactly this is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is.

Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness; you will get your own happiness.
And this is the purpose of human life.”*

I think the reason this story stood out to me so much is because I tend to put my energy towards making other people happy. I take that saying “treat others the way you want to be treated” pretty seriously. Unfortunately, there have been many instances in my life where giving so much to others has reaped nothing but hurt and discouragement. So, I guess I want to believe the above statement “give them their happiness; you will get your own happiness”, but I think this mentality can also be incredibly destructive. Honestly, I’m still trying to figure it all out. I just thought it could start an interesting discussion.

Have thoughts about this? I would love to hear them!

*If anyone has a source for this story, please let me know so that I can add it.

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Hey Guys!

I’m back with another recipe!

Some of you who know me, know that I went through a small stage where I was obsessed with making Vanilla Chia Pudding. Today, I will introduce the newest member to my Chia pudding recipe collection: Chocolate Chia Pudding.

Guys, this is SO easy and SO good for you that I just don’t know why everyone isn’t making it.

So here it is, Chocolate Chia Pudding! (This one’s for you, Heather!)

(Recipe adapted from A Beautiful Mess)

Ingredients (1 serving):

2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds

1/2 cup Coconut Milk (I have made this with Almond Milk as well,and it turned out great!)

1 Tablespoon Cocoa

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Cinnamon

1/2 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup or to taste (I prefer less sweet, but I know most don’t – Original recipe calls for 1 1/2 TBSP)

Instructions:

In a small bowl, stir together first 5 ingredients (Maple Syrup gets combined at the end). It takes a bit until the Cocoa gets combined with no clumps. Refrigerate for 30 min. Stir to ensure there are no lumps. To set, continue to refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight (I personally prefer it overnight). When you are ready to enjoy it, stir in the Maple Syrup and add any toppings you might want. I have eaten it with bananas and plain. Both ways were great!

The original recipe also offers suggestions for toppings such as pomegranate seeds and chopped nuts. Enjoy!

Below are my photos from the process:

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Banana Ice Cream

GUYS! I discovered something so delicious, and I absolutely HAVE to share it with you.

Ok so, you know how usually, when you have bananas that are going brown you think to yourself, “time for banana bread!”? Well, I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients for banana bread, so I decided to look into what else I could do with them.

Enter: BANANA ICE CREAM!

I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m pretty excited about this new discovery cause well, IT’S DELICIOUS and SOO easy! Seriously. I’ll show you. SO easy.

Before I show you the step by step, I want to share the ingredients needed for this. 

Ready?

Ingredients - Bananas

What? I just need bananas, and that’s it? YES! :)

You can also add in delicious goodies like peanut butter or Nutella (which I did and I’ll show you) or you can just eat it plain. Either way it’s really delicious.

Ok ok so here it is:

(Recipe from The Kitchn)

Ingredients:

2 Bananas – Sliced and Frozen (1-2 hrs)

Peanut Butter, Honey, Nutella, Cinnamon, Whatever your heart desires (Optional)

Here are some ideas from The Kitchn for customization.

Instructions:

Pulse frozen banana slices in food processor until smooth. This will take a little bit. Just keep scraping down the sides and pulse until smooth. It should look a lot like soft serve ice cream. (You’ll see what it looks like in the photos to follow.) Once smooth, you can either add extra ingredients and continue pulsing until smooth, or enjoy it as is. Another option you have is to transfer the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze for later if you would like a more ice cream like texture. Enjoy!

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I added Nutella to this next one and froze it for a few hours:

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The last two photos, with Nutella, show what the ice cream looks like if you freeze it for a few hours after you make it. Honestly, both ways are delicious. It just depends on your preference. 

Please let me know if you try this!

Josiah

Hey guys!

As some of you know, we recently went on a trip to Lake Tahoe with the Oanta siblings.

I wish I could say that the snow was incredible and everyone had the most incredible skiing and snowboarding experiences, but the truth is, it was totally lacking. Nonetheless, good times were had, memorable conversation was shared and quality time was spent.

Unfortunately, I don’t have as many pictures as I wish from this trip, but I do have a few of our adorable nephew Josiah.

Here he is, Josiah:

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^ He did this pose all by himself! He was born to be photographed! :)

Also, I have a recipe coming soon. I’m just trying to perfect it :)

Hope you enjoyed these photos of this cutie!

Family Time is The Best Time

Hey guys!

Hope you are all having a fantastic Holiday season. I hope you were able to spend time with family and friends. I hope you loved and cherished every moment. 

This year was definitely a first for us. It was the first year we spent Christmas Day without family. No caroling (yes, we do that), no parties, no late night conversations that make you go home saying, “Man, what a great time we had! I love those guys!” Ok, don’t get me wrong, Ruben and I didn’t just sit silently in our living room staring at the walls. We had a great day together, it just didn’t feel right. We decided that we would probably never spend Christmas without one of our families again. 

On a more positive note, we are SO SO thankful for the family we do have here. Their names are Daniela and Johann, and they are so great! They invited us to spend Christmas Eve with them and their long-time friends, and great times were had. We most definitely had conversations that make you leave saying, “Man, what a great time we had!”. That’s actually pretty common when we spend time with them, though. I really don’t know how I would have made it this far without them so close. We are spending New Years Eve with them also. Seriously, we are so grateful for their friendship. There really is nothing like family. Here’s a photo of us from that evening (so you can put faces with their names):

ImageI also forgot to update you on our Thanksgiving. We flew to North Carolina and spent the holiday with my family. 

Here is a photo of my mom:

ImageShe was eating something, but I had to share the photo cause I feel like it shows how much we look alike. Isn’t she the cutest?

Right after Thanksgiving, our sister, Ema, was in town from Southern CA and we got to spend time with her, Jonathan and Josiah. I’ve told you about them here. Every time we are together, I am so so happy. I can’t explain my love for this little family. They have such a special place in my heart. Here is a photo of all of us together (The family photo’s were taken with Daniela and Johann’s camera.):Image

Guys, I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t stress it enough. Family time is the BEST time!

I think the reason, for me, is because family time is comfortable time. Safe time. Be myself, and know that I am loved unconditionally, time. It’s such a valuable time for me, especially since moving here. I’m sad that it took so long for me to begin to cherish it like this, but I am oh-so-happy that I have started to. 

I don’t want to make it seem like friends can’t be at family level. I have a few close friends that are most definitely at family level for me, but I wanted to focus on family in this particular post. 

Ok, fine. I’ll show you a photo of how awesome one of my friends is:ImageRachel, from my previous post, MADE these for us! They were a complete surprise. I totally cried when I opened the package, and I am not ashamed to admit that. They are paintings of each state we are from and have lived in. I mean, come on. Do I have awesome friends, or what?? I have wanted these for so long, and I have never told her! I am still trying to decide on the perfect place to hang them. Oh, and she just happened to use our wedding colors! I mean, COME ON. Talk about a perfect gift. 

Ok, I think that’s enough updating for today.

I hope you all have an incredible New Year. I hope that you cherish your loved ones, and let them know how much they mean to you. I hope that 2014 is full of only goodness for you all!

love, evie.

 

Rachel in SF

Hey guys,

I forgot to tell you, but my friend Rachel and I recently went on a road trip to Portland and Seattle (and also did some sight seeing in San Francisco). We saw and ate a lot of really great things. I’m going to share some photos with you from our trip a little later, but in this post I wanted to share some photos I took of Rachel while we were in San Francisco.

Here’s a quick update about me right now:

Even though it’s been 4 months, I’m having a difficult time really making this home. I can’t say I’m surprised. When I first moved to Chicago I started having similar thoughts and feelings around month four so this was sort of expected. Although, I was hoping it would skip me this time around.

Don’t get me wrong, I still stand by my sentiment that if you have to move somewhere, it should most definitely be Northern California. The weather is ridiculously perfect. So perfect, in fact, that I’m a little jealous of the freak October snow fall that I heard about in Chicago!

Aside from all that, I was really happy to be able to bust out my camera again. I missed having the opportunity to practice some things I’ve learned and was super excited to have Rachel be my model for a day.

So, here you go. Rachel in SF:

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Seasonal Favorites

No, I will not be talking about all things pumpkin or “fall” flavored treats if that’s what you were expecting. I’ve been thinking recently about how I go through seasons of things I like – in life. We all do.  So, today I’m going to share the food related things that I’m liking in my life right now.

Ok, here we go:

I got this tea from TJ Maxx. I’m not much of a tea drinker, but this tea has taught me to never underestimate the deliciousness of goodies purchased from unexpected places!

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This milk has been a favorite since we were living in Chicago. Thankfully we didn’t have to switch up grocery stores when we moved.

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What would Life, Love and Tacos be without info related to tacos? These are currently my favorite taco shells. (Yes, we really like Trader Joe’s.)

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As some of you know, in January I decided to go vegan. While I have added cheese back into my diet since then, I don’t see this delicious soy-free buttery spread going anywhere anytime soon.

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While I am thoroughly ashamed of  my next seasonal favorite, I have to admit that I am slightly addicted to the iced coffee from Starbucks. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of all independent coffee shops out there, but there is just something about this iced coffee that gets me every time! (It doesn’t hurt that it’s literally 3 minutes walking distance from my front door.)Image

Oh, and how can I leave this guy out? He’s definitely an all-seasons favorite for this girl. :)

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Life-Saving Quick Meal

Hey Guys! Happy Wednesday to you all!

Ok, so you know how sometimes you have those nights where you start freaking out because you had no time to get anything ready and you just want to put something, anything on the table?

That’s never happened to me, but I can imagine that anxiety.

Just kidding, that has definitely happened to me and I wanted to share a quick, pretty recent discovery that has helped me resolve this issue.

Since cutting out meat in January, meal planning has been WAYY more difficult than I ever imagined. I had all these visions of me becoming a master vegan/vegetarian chef now that I have more free time. Well, yeah. That has definitely NOT happened. If anything, I am way more discouraged when it comes to planning meals. If you know me, this is a very sad, sad development. You see, I LOVE food. I love meals. I love getting together around a table with people while sharing a meal and having the best conversations around. But how can I do this if I have no meals to serve?

Well, here’s one quick meal that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend for guests, but it’s definitely a great start in quick meals.

Ok, so let me set the scene:

- You just got home from work/school/running errands/scuba diving and you are SOO HUNGRY. Sure, you can run out and grab fast food, but just hear me out. It’s worth it.

First, I would like to introduce you to, Giada’s Minestrone Soup (Sold only at Target – I LOVE Target):

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Ok, yes. You need some additional ingredients. But I can’t just give you an all-in-one solution. Ok, maybe I can, but I’m still looking for it.

Additional ingredients include: Onion, Vegetable stock (or any stock) and a Can of Diced Tomatoes. You could also top with parmesan cheese, throw in some spinach, or veggies you want to use up and even some red pepper flakes if you want a little more heat.

The reason I like this soup so much is because you can play with it. Make it your own.

Ok, so on to it’s partner, Trader Joe’s Caesar Salad Kit:

IMG_3100-1I don’t know if it’s because there are no anchovies in this dressing, but it is definitely a favorite of mine.  Here is the all-in-one solution I wasn’t able to provide above :)

I discovered this salad when I was in Laguna Beach and have never looked back.

Ok, so to recap, here is the delicious duo:

IMG_3031-1Again, if you are planning on having a soup and salad party night with 14 of your closest friends, this is not the meal for you. Unless, of course, you buy a few or 5 of each of these. That would actually work very well.

If any of you ever actually try one or both of these, I would love to hear about it.

Oh! one last thing! Remember how I told you about my attempt to cut outside coffee costs with that Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Concentrate?

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Well, I tried it! and I am SOO SOO happy to tell you that I have found my new, much more inexpensive coffee treat!

First off, I wouldn’t recommend the hot version. Both Ruben and I weren’t crazy about it.

The great news is that today I tried it iced! Well, not iced, you have to refrigerate after opening so I added cold water and some almond milk. Final result? YUM!

Again, please let me know if you try any of these! I would LOVE to hear what you think!

Have a fantastic day!

Back From Hiatus

Hey guys,

Ok, so I’m back from my small hiatus and wanted to share a little about whats been going on. First of all, hanging out with my nephew was AWESOME. He is the best. Also, whether anyone admits it or not, I was the one to see his first signed word (milk)! As little Josiah ages, he will be told the story of how Aunt Evie saw his first word while we were in the kitchen together packing for his first big move. He’ll mostly be told the story by me, but still. It’s an awesome story to tell. Seriously though, I can’t even handle how cute he is:

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Aside from visiting him and my AWESOME sister ( I love her.) and brother in law, I have come to the conclusion that have developed an unhealthy obsession with purchasing coffee. We live within 3 min walking distance from both a Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee and Tea. So, yeah. Convenience has been winning over making it at home. So, in an attempt to cut this expensive habit, I purchased this yesterday:

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It says that you can mix it with either hot or cold (iced) water/milk. It seems like a genius solution to my issue since it’s so easy to prepare. I’ll keep you updated with how it goes. Have any of you tried it?

On another note, the photo wall that I shared here is coming together above my sofa. Here is the “so far” product:

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I’m thinking to add a few more things to it, but I’m happy with it so far.

Last, but not least, I have recently entered a photo contest called “Picture This!”, and would really appreciate your votes! It is a contest asking residents from our community to share photos of why they love their neighborhoods. Here is the photo I submitted of my favorite spot to hang out right outside our apartment:

IMG_2936-1If you would like to vote, please go to Picture This! . To vote, you just need to enter your email address. Voting is completely anonymous.

Thanks so much guys!

 

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