Vegan Poutine- Better than the OG

You’ve heard me write about our vegan gravy before. We even did a quick segment on the news about how it’s so yummy. Well, do I have a recipe for you! Poutine is a Canadian dish that has been on the rise the past couple of years. We were introduced to it quite a few years ago, (shout out to Brewery Vivant for opening our eyes to what we were missing!) which is how the whole vegan gravy thing got going. We saw fries smothered in gravy, cheese curds, and a fried egg, and we were DONE. How long has Canada been holding out on this stuff?! It’s something to be had, and had again and againandagain. 

We first had poutine with leek gravy. Delish, I tell you. The Chef decided to make it with onions at home. Mind blowing, I tell you. Onion Gravy, try it out, for real.

Now add fries. Add vegan cheese (regular cheese if you so wish), and voila! A dish even your most carnivorous friend would like. I would say guaranteed, but you know how people don’t like things just to spite you. Whatever. More for you. 

This time, I had to make the onion gravy. Can I tell you how intimidated I was? If The Chef makes something that I know is amazing, I don’t want to even try attempting it. I prepare myself for failure because I’ve hoisted my husband on this gold pedestal. (He hates it up there…) But, honesty time, it’s so easy. I felt ridiculously ashamed with how easy it was and how badly I didn’t want to do it out of fear. COME ON, KATE. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Luckily this one was a sinker. Nothing but net. Straight through the goal post. Right outta…oh my gosh stop it. 

Vegan Poutine
Serves 2
A scrumptious alternative for the meatless lover, but one that's better than the OG.
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Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
  1. 4 small-medium potatoes
  2. 1 medium onion
  3. 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup vegetable base
  4. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (possibly extra)
  5. 1/4 cup veganaise
  6. 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  7. Salt and Pepper
  8. Oil for coating potatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚.
  2. For Fries--Cut potatoes into wedges. Toss and coat with oil. Place on a cookie sheet, making sure they're evenly spaced out, or just not all in a pile and sitting on top of each other. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 min, then with a spatula, flip potatoes. Cook other side for 15 min or until golden brown. (Flipping prevents the fries from sticking to the cookie sheet. So flip as often as you'd like. Cooking time may be a little longer. Which is fine!)
  3. For the Gravy--Follow instructions on Onion Gravy post.
  4. For Vegan Cheese--Peel and mince two cloves of garlic. In a bowl, combine veganaise, nutritional yeast, and garlic, adding more nutritional yeast if needed to get a very yellow, thick mixture. Like a cheese spread. Let sit for 5 min.
  5. Once potatoes are done, place on plate, drizzle generously with onion gravy. Taking the vegan cheese, either plop or cornel (spooning it between two spoon to make a "cylinder" shape) cheese on top fries and gravy. Serve immediately! Best when warm. Weird when cold.
  1. Now if you're wanting a not-so-vegan version, try adding a fried egg on top. It bumps it up to the next level.
The Everyday Chef and Wife
Vegan Poutine | The Everyday Chef and WifeVegan Poutine | The Everyday Chef and Wife

Such a fun way to soup it up! It explains in the video that we were inspired from a restaurant over in Japan that makes Ramen this way (we say we saw it on one of Anthony Bourdain’s series, or Mind of a Chef, but I honestly think it was I’ll have What Phil’s Having… Great show btw! Watch it pronto), and The Chef says “We have a big version of those… Let’s try it!”, in hopes of finding a new an innovative way to spice up the in home dinner parties we cater. 

Well I’m up for anything that I get to eat made by my brilliant man. At least for a taste, which usually turns into an all out gorge fest…. Now if THAT doesn’t make me sounds super attractive….

I swear I’m kind of ladylike. 

The process honestly couldn’t be more simple, it’s just having the right equipment. We used our Bodum coffee syphon- which are becoming more popular, and they make one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had- and purchased some instant soup mixes from a bulk food store. You could probably make your own, but I don’t know the proportions to make it tasty. I would say stick with instant soup mixes for now, see what you like, go from there. We did a Miso soup, with tofu and green onions for garnish. Don’t you just want to try it? If you’re looking for an impressive way to wow your party guests, seek no further. 

Well. You can look at these pictures below…

Miso Soup in Coffee Syphon | The Everyday Chef and Wife Miso Soup in Coffee Syphon | The Everyday Chef and Wife Miso Soup in Coffee Syphon | The Everyday Chef and Wife Miso Soup in Coffee Syphon | The Everyday Chef and Wife Miso Soup in Coffee Syphon | The Everyday Chef and Wife Miso Soup in Coffee Syphon | The Everyday Chef and Wife Miso Soup in Coffee Syphon | The Everyday Chef and Wife Miso Soup in Coffee Syphon | The Everyday Chef and Wife Miso Soup in Coffee Syphon | The Everyday Chef and Wife

-The Everyday Chef and Wife


{Shrubs} Vinegar based drinks- Red Wine and Champagne Vinegar

Shrubs- Vinegar Based Drinks | The Everyday Chef and Wife

The Chef here with an unlikely ally to help beat the summer heat. Vinegar based drinks (or “Shrubs”) date back all the way to Victorian times, and have been a great refresher during the brutal summer days. It’s also a great alternative to a cocktail. This is a “mocktail” that really lets you feel the fancy. (*Wife interrupts*Pinkies up! We’re especially looking at you pregnant moms! You shouldn’t have to sacrifice sophistication and all the fun. And it’s a little bit classier than the classic “Shirley Temple”.) A combination of premium vinegar diluted with water, a touch of sugar, herbs, and bitters can result in a crisp revitalizing drink. We can guarantee weird looks from your friends faces if you say “hey, come over for some vinegar drinks”, but if you whip them up, let them sip, look at their glass with bewilderment because they’ve never tasted anything like this before (in a good way), and THEN you tell them, you’ll be labeled as innovative and a trend setter. 
We’ll give you the basic recipe for two separate recipes but it’s all up to taste on how strong/tart/sweet you want it. The possibilities are endless. 

The raspberry wine vinegar shrub is a little tarter than the champagne vinegar shrub. Both are seriously delicious, but if you are wanting more of a POW, go with the red wine vinegar shrub. If you want a lighter and more refreshing drink, champagne vinegar is your pal.

Raspberry Wine Vinegar Shrub
Serves 1
A tart and fancy mocktail that will impress!
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  1. 1/4 cup raspberry wine vinegar
  2. 1/4 cup blood orange juice
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 3 Tbsp sugar
  5. 1-2 drops of aromatic bitters
  6. Kumquat & basil for tasting garnish
  1. Combine all the ingredients together in a large glass/shaker and stir or shake. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the sugar dissolve a bit. Pour and serve over ice. Garnish as needed
The Everyday Chef and Wife
Champagne Vinegar Shrub
Serves 1
A refreshing and fancy mocktail that will impress!
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
  1. 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  2. 3/4 cup tonic water
  3. 4 Tbsp sugar
  4. 1-2 drops of aromatic bitters
  5. Lemon zest, raspberry, and mint for tasting garnish
  1. Combine and stir all ingredients in a large glass/shaker. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the sugar dissolve. Pour and serve over ice in desired glass. Garnish as needed. Enjoy!
The Everyday Chef and Wife
Shrubs- Vinegar Based Drinks | The Everyday Chef and Wife Shrubs- Vinegar Based Drinks | The Everyday Chef and Wife Shrubs- Vinegar Based Drinks | The Everyday Chef and Wife Shrubs- Vinegar Based Drinks | The Everyday Chef and Wife Shrubs- Vinegar Based Drinks | The Everyday Chef and Wife Shrubs- Vinegar Based Drinks | The Everyday Chef and Wife

Red Wine Vinegar Shrub

Red Wine Vinegar Shrub

Shrubs- Vinegar Based Drinks | The Everyday Chef and Wife

Champagne Vinegar Shrub

Champagne Vinegar Shrub

Does this scare you? Are you interested? The Wife definitely had a crinkle in her nose when I first proposed the idea  of the drinks. We had friends over at the time (as we usually guinea pig our friends), and they quite enjoyed them. Bringing it back, old school style… with a twist. A lemon twist maybe.

Let us know how you like it when you try it!!

-The Chef 


Taking a walk with Jeremiah, and precious things

Today we had doctors appointments.  Luckily, my kid loves doctors. He always remembers to ask for an extra popsicle stick (tongue depressor) so he can talk about “a giant popsicle” and how “we should make giant popsicles”. He carries it around like it’s the thing that’s been missing from his collection. A collection of lord knows what… 

On our walk home (I am fortunate enough to live two blocks away from our pediatrics office) we cross a very busy road, where we have to wait for the cross walk signal and wander out in front of multiple waiting cars. On our way across, the worst happened. Miah dropped the popsicle stick. I frantically look at how much time we had to cross the road vs. the cross walk signal. Blinking red hand, me pushing a stroller, and herding my 4 year old across a busy intersection= me not chancing it. I made the call. It was down for the count. I started dragging Jeremiah to the other side, where he desperately looked back with broken hearted eyes. The tears started to well. “My stick!!” he cried. Visions of my childhood and my weird tendency’s to attach myself to inanimate objects rushed to my mind.( Toy story really struck a chord with me because I believed all my stuffed animals had feelings and could tell when I liked one more than the other, leading to piles and piles of stuffed animals on my bed at night.)

I looked back at the stick, now being run over by cars. Something felt so heartless about leaving it there. Alone. While my child watched his beloved popsicle stick he had been carrying around all afternoon be run over,  having to turn our backs and walk away. I couldn’t let my kiddo down. “Be the hero that you would’ve wanted when you were his age. Save it.” I said to myself. 

I waited by the side of the intersection, waiting for the walking man to light up on the signal. I puffed up my chest and walked out in front of all the stopped cars, bent over picked up that tongue depressor and proudly walked back to my child waiting safely and patiently on the sidewalk. I smiled at him and handed it to him, looking for the spark of joy to creep up in his eyes as his beloved stick had been saved. 

“I don’t want to hold it. I just wanted you to get it so I could throw it away in our trash.” 


-The Defeated Wife

A day in the life: A walk with Jeremiah, and precious things | The Everyday Chef and Wife blog

Traveling Family: We go North

Family Travels: We go North | The Everyday Chef and Wife

If you live anywhere in the United States, you have seen the Pure Michigan commercials with Tim Allen’s voiceover. When I was pregnant with Jeremiah (about 4 1/2 years ago now), with my hormones raging, every time I heard the theme song and his voice I broke down crying. Ok. I still do that even without being pregnant. Can you blame me?! I grew up in one of the most gorgeous states. Though while living there I was more annoyed by the tourists than the scenery around me. My mom always told me that one day I would realize what I had and wish I was back. Welp, that day has come. Thanks Mom… 

Grand Rapids, MI, is still pretty, don’t get me wrong, but it simply can’t beat the freshness that northern Michigan holds. This is the real Pure Michigan. Where communities still rally together, and watch out for each others teenagers when they were driving up and down main street because that was the “only fun thing to do”. That and go to Wal-Mart. How droll. 

Boating was a daily past time, and what you did on the weekends if not every day. Water was no more than 3 miles away no matter which direction you went. Deer were as common as squirrels, and you don’t feed the seagulls unless you wanted a reenactment of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. Luckily, it’s still at my finger tips. With my mom and sister’s family living up there, I can visit whenever I want (or rather whenever I can, which isn’t anywhere near as much as I want. Anyone with a small business can certainly attest). The sunsets are bolder, the dark skies are sprinkled infinitely more with stars, the mosquitoes won’t quit until they suck you dry. Oh right, the mosquitos. At least that’s one thing I don’t have to deal with anywhere near as badly. I’m convinced that Noah misheard God when he said grab those two mosquitos. That’s MI talk. He meant grab them out of thin air and swat them on your thigh. Noah wasn’t from Michigan. God was. 

Our love our family travels. This one is no exception. 

Clyde’s is the best burger in the north. You have to cross the bridge to get to it, but it’s completely worth it. Greasy, cheesy, messy, everything you want in a burger. The “Big C” is 3/4lb… I tried it once. It wasn’t pretty, but it was delicious I tell you. Wash it down with a chocolate malt, a side of crunchy, flavorful onion rings, and you’ve got yourself a date. Maybe get a kids meal just so you can have some fun with the car box it comes in. Totally worth it. (Pictured here is my sisters family and us. I’m pretty sure we can make anything fun.) Plus, it’s a drive-in which just throws nostalgia in your face.

I’m trying to see the scenery with new eyes. Get a new perspective on it. Erase some of the noise and focus on what makes this place so perfect. It’s slow, it’s quiet, and it’s home. 

Family Travels: We go North | The Everyday Chef and Wife Family Travels: We go North | The Everyday Chef and Wife Family Travels: We go North | The Everyday Chef and Wife Family Travels: We go North | The Everyday Chef and Wife Family Travels: We go North | The Everyday Chef and Wife Family Travels: We go North | The Everyday Chef and Wife Family Travels: We go North | The Everyday Chef and Wife

Your trip begins at

More travels to come…

The Wife

Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins

January 1st 2010, Joan H. Busken passed from this world, and into a better one. The thing she left behind? A legacy. 

My Nana. Ever since that day, I find out many thing about Nana that has made me realize that she and I were more alike than I knew. Sure, I adopted some of her loves as I grew, knowing that a small part of it keeps her alive in some way, but for the most part, self-awareness. One of those loves; lemons. It’s in the blood. 

During this recent pregnancy, I drank a gallon of lemon water a day. I didn’t want anything else. All other drinks have been ruined. Nothing else can quench my thirst. LEMONS!! You would think that much lemon would satisfy any nerve of craving left in my body. No. I can’t enough of it. Just like Nana. *Example: a staple at her dinner table, that actually never left (it sat next to the salt and pepper shakers) was lemon pepper. *To be clear, I like REAL lemon flavor. None of this synthetic crud that someone thought they could replicate from a machine. Uhnothankyou. It needs to be real lemons, and it needs to POW me in the face. Let me introduce to you, the lemon muffin of all lemon muffins. The Lemon Loaf Muffin. 

This pastry. Ok. I honestly don’t know where to begin. It has so many flavor levels. Slightly tart, sweet, and then it Ross Gellar “Unagi”‘s you in the face. Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf: The Everyday Chef and Wife 

I usually have some sort of self control when it comes to my relationship between me and my oven. Usually I bake my cookies in small batches to ensure I don’t waste them before they go bad. Usually.  When I baked these? I may or may not have had 4 within an hour… It has lemon in it. That groups it near the fruit section in the “outdated” food pyramid… right? 

They make my mouth water. They are quite literally mouthwatering. They are addicting. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. A part of me felt guilty, the other part was marine-drill-sergeant screaming at me THATTHEENDOFTHEWORLDCOULDCOMEATANYTIMEANDWOULDIRATHERBESKINNYORWOULDIRATHERHAVETHISMUFFININMYBELLY. I’ve never been to boot camp, but I know to listen to drill sergeants. 

If I could have a wish (I would ask for an infinite amount of wishes, obvi), I would wish that I could have one of these for the rest of my darn life. Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins | The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog

Mouthwatering Lemon Loaf Muffins
A multi-level lemon experience, contained in a muffin.
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
For the cake
  1. 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  2. 2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoons salt
  4. 1 cup sour cream-- I made my own quick version which is 1 cup of Horizon heavy cream and 1 Tbsp of Lemon juice- Let sit for 5 minutes
  5. 1 cup sugar
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 2 tsp lemon zest
  8. 1 tsp vanilla
  9. 1/2 cup oil
For the simple syrup
  1. 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  2. 1/3 cup sugar
For the glaze
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line your muffin tins. (I didn't have any muffin liners at the time so I tore off square (ish) pieces of parchment paper and lightly sprayed the pan and the liner, just to be safe. They came out very eclectic. I loved it)
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together your "sour cream", sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until combined. Because, why couldn't you?
  3. After well incorporated, fold in oil until combined.
  4. Pour or plop into muffin tin/liners/parchment paper, having the batter fill 1/2-3/4 of the way up. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. While your waiting for it to bake, combine the ingredients for the simple syrup in a small sauce pan and cook until sugar is dissolved and solution is clear. Let cool.
  6. After the muffins are done, let them cool for a couple minutes before removing from the pan. Place them of a level surface. Using a toothpick or chopstick, pokes a bunch of holes into the muffins. At first I tried to make them look all fancy. Don't worry about it. Poke away.
  7. Very carefully, spoon the simple syrup over the muffins, allowing the mixture to get soaked up. Try to distribute as evenly as possible.
  8. Let muffins fully cool.
  9. When you're ready to ice (when they're cooled), whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle over top. And then ohmygosh devour!
Adapted from Ina Garten and moderated a bit
Adapted from Ina Garten and moderated a bit
The Everyday Chef and Wife
I think Nana tries to Patrick Swayze “Ghost” my body just so she can have a taste of these delicious little gems. What am I saying. She’s in heaven, probably laying on a whole pile of them, and laughing at me who still has to bake them down here on earth.  I guess it’ll have to do for now. I won’t complain! 

-The Wife


Baked Plantains and Peanut Butter: Recipe for all you 21 Day Fix People


Recipe adapted from

Weird fruit. This one has always been a mystery and I have always been curious. They look like bananas, but they aren’t bananas. Huh???

So after doing a little reading I’ve found that they are part of the banana family, have little sugar variety, and are very starchy.  They aren’t something you want to snack on raw either. Plantains kind of serve as the potato in places such as West Africa or Caribbean countries.

So after looking through many recipes, I found one that looked a little healthier than the rest. Yay! 

First, set your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I ended up using 3 very ripe plantains (the riper they are the sweeter they taste). I cut them into 1 inch thick slices (cross section kind of cut) and then brushed them with melted coconut oil on each side.  I used about 2-3 tsp of the coconut oil and then melted it in the microwave.


When brushing the oil on, I used very little because I wanted the plantains to have a nice crunch. The more oil you use, the softer they’ll be and I like mine with that crunch. Depends what you prefer.

After brushing each side with oil, I placed them on the baking sheet and put them in  the oven for 25 minutes on one side and 25 minutes on the other side. I am definitely going to experiment with the oven temperature and time to see if I can get it to around 15 minutes per side without compromising the end result. I’ll update this recipe if anything changes.


Once done, place in a bowl or on a plate and drizzle some natural peanut butter (or almond butter) over top.  For me, Jiffy or something similar would be too sweet.  I liked the way the natural peanut butter cut the sweetness of the plantain. They complimented each other very well. Best thing about this is that this could easily be fit into the 21 Day Fix meal plan and who doesn’t love that…am I right??  This recipe is filling and delicious and it gives you a break from your everyday regime. Give plantains a chance!!


Happy eating!


“I’ve gotta go, Julia. We’ve got cows!”



Of course I’m quoting more lines from Twister.  It’s not like I get a lot of chances, so I’m taking full advantage of the situation.

So , do you remember from my last post when I said there was this wind shift as we were driving down a road north of Eva, Oklahoma and basically my heart kind of stopped? Well, that’s because a tornado was kind of starting to form above us…yes. You read that right. After coming back down the same road, passing that same spot, there were downed power lines and poles. Let that just sink in for a sec.

It just goes to show that mother nature is tricky.  You can have all the experience in the world and bad things can still happen. Please don’t go out and chase storms if you aren’t trained to.  You can end up killing yourself or whoever is with you.  There are very real risks that come with doing something like this and that’s why I chose Roger and Caryn. I know they will do everything they can to keep everyone safe, and honestly, I never felt like we were in real danger, as crazy as that sounds.  I was just super excited to be there and see these storms face-to-face.


So, we did have cows just not like the movie. Lots of them dotted the landscape, but there was this particular field of them behind a wire fence on the second day.  It started to rain and they were all lined up next to each other, staring in our direction.  You could tell they were NOT happy cows, and they kind of hated us because we jumped in the vans to stay dry. The second day had potential, but we were missing the crazy inflow of wind into the storm that we had the previous day.  We went back and forth (and back and forth) between Amarillo and Childress, TX. I got to sit up front in Van 2 with Ryan Shepard. The guy who does just about everything. I basically want his job at SLT. It was a day on the road chatting, talking shop (he’s a stellar photographer), travel stories and goals, with the occasional joke or sarcastic comment to provide a laugh. 

So, although I didn’t get to see a tornado on the second day it was still a lot of fun, and we were even treated to a very active thunderstorm full of CG (cloud to ground lightning)on our drive back to Amarillo…360 degree view of this storm with nothing to obstruct my view. It was amazing and a little embarrassing because I couldn’t keep myself from yelling, “Whoa!!” or “Nice!!” every time lightning struck. 

This experience was definitely the adventure of a lifetime, and there are more to come…This one was in honor of my father who passed away exactly a year ago today from skin cancer. I think he would have loved it. Although my heart is heavy today, it is also full and after all that has happened, my cup runneth over. I can’t wait for May 16 because…I’M GOING AGAIN FOR TWO WEEKS!!!! I am so stoked. Geeked. Whatever you want to call it. I feel so blessed to be able to go again so soon! A spot opened up, I just happened to look, and it was for dates perfectly sandwiched between two weddings I have.  I think you can start calling me The Extreme 🙂



Weird Fruit and What To Do With Them: Mangoes


So, mangoes.  They’re not super weird, but they definitely not an apple or banana. A mango is something I’ve only bought once, and that was last week.  I have nothing against them, I just thought I’d leave my enjoyment of them to professional smoothie makers, or the restaurant who thought a mango salsa would go well with my fish (and it does). I’ve changed my own mind and I think they’ll be on the grocery list pretty frequently.  I found a lovely and simple smoothie recipe that I can easily do at home, so there’s nothing stopping me from having one. I may even try making that salsa ’cause it was pretty freakin’ delicious!

The mango I had was really ripe, but the taste was fantastic!  My “Cutting a Mango Tutorial” isn’t as pretty as what I saw, but sometimes life isn’t pretty, and it’s messy instead. 

So, mangos have a flat, ovals pit in the center.  You’ll start by cutting to the left and then to the right of the center to avoid that pit.



You now have three sections. You’ll take the one with the pit and cut the remaining flesh off, creating a “C” shape.  Score those pieces with a knife, invert the mango, and cut the cubes off.


Take the other two sections, and score a criss-cross pattern into them.  Again, invert the mango and cut the cubes off.


Pretty simple. If my explanation confuses you, google a video on how to prepare a mango. That should clear up my poor explanation 🙂

Now let’s get to the smoothie.

Mix the mango, 2/3 C of yogurt (vanilla or coconut…I used Noosa cause it’s just so dang good), 1/4 C green tea (steep 2 bags for 5 minutes), 2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes, and six ice cubes  in a blender. Blend until smooth.  Feel free to add other ingredients and make it your own.  This really hit the spot for lunch today! Tasty and quick!


Recipe adapted from


I Can Officially Call Myself a Storm Chaser!


Although I lack the skills to predict and forecast where to be and and at what time, I sure know how to ride in a van and provide the occasional sassy comment or joke! In all seriousness, I loved doing this thing, this completely “crazy” thing. Chasing storms has been a dream of mine since I can remember. Although I would sleep in my parent’s room when a storm would roll in, I would always sleep right by the window so I could watch the show until the end or until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  This was a show like no other and I was WIDE AWAKE even though I was going off very little sleep during my 4.5 day trip.

I arrived in Denver on Thursday after receiving and email on Wednesday that things were a “go.”  I chose to be on Silver Lining Tours’ On-Call list vs. the normal 6-10 day tours set for specific dates, so that’s the reason for such short notice. I flew in during the morning so I had much of Thursday to do what I wanted even though I was feeling like a zombie. I decided to make the most of my stay since I had never been to Denver before and Red Rocks was only 40 minutes from where I was staying. I had to go. So I rented a car and drove out to the park where I had a lovely lunch with an awesome view.



Eldorado Elk Sliders with crispy onions, whole grain dijon, and a mustard demi-glaze on house baked slider buns. This was as good as the food got…a chaser’s diet consist of fast food and more fast food. I tried to gets salads and rely on my Kind granola bars (which are really good)  here and there, but it was kind of tough getting away from eating so much of that kind of food. 

I didn’t have a ton of time since my rental needed to be back before they closed, so I drove around and took photos. I was sitting in my car packing things up when I looked up to see this.  


It was magic. A gift from God.  They appeared out of thin air. I took photos, of course, but I also had to put down my camera and enjoy the moment. I often notice my memories of things that I was present for don’t really exist because I was viewing it from behind a camera.  I try to make a conscious effort to step away and let myself have a few moments to really experience and appreciate where I am.  My photos won’t mean anything if I can’t take something other than digital files with me.  I always want to remember the feeling, the emotion, the thankfulness for how full my heart felt at that moment.


Thursday was filled with anxiousness…I couldn’t wait to start my adventure, but I was also nervous about not knowing anyone and being stuck with them for 1-3 days.  Fortunately, I had no reason to be anxious.  They were like me in so many ways. The passion, love, excitement for what we were about to see had brought all of us together. My face was smiling a good deal of the time, but when it wasn’t my soul still was.  These people became MY people.  My storm people. I made a few friends who I hope to keep in touch with and see again at some  point, another chase perhaps (insert big toothy grin).

Friday morning. 8am. All 11 passengers, plus Roger and Caryn Hill, and Ryan Shepard ( background info. to come).  I rode in the first van with Caryn and Roger on day one, second row back, sitting alongside Steph. This was Steph’s  second time out chasing with SLT (Silver Lining Tours). Over time, we exchanged stories of what brought us out to chase, where we came from (she hails from Chicago), and bonded over the love of natural disaster movies…such as, oh I don’t know…TWISTER!!  One of my all-time favorite movies. I have watched it countless times and can pretty much quote the entire thing from beginning to end.  The best part was that as we were talking about this, I embarrassingly admitted that I had the soundtrack on my iPod. I thought she would laugh at me, but she instead said she had the theme song on hers to get pumped up.  Kindred spirit. Right. There.  

So we started out in Denver and had to get down to Amarillo, TX by 2-3 pm.  You don’t want to be late for the show, as Roger said.  He employed his wife to get us down there within the time frame, using her size 20 lead foot (it’s a  joke, they’re not really lead. LOL. I’m sure I’m the only one laughing right now).  Here’s a little background on Roger and Caryn…I have grown up watching Roger on T.V. He has been featured on NatGeo, The Weather Channel, Nova, The Discovery Channel…he holds the Guinness World Record for witnessing the most tornadoes, EVER. By anyone in the HISTORY of mankind. He is a fountain of knowledge and his passion is infectious. I love that he is exactly the person he is on television. It was great. Caryn came across as a straight shooter. Her confidence, experience, and passion allow her to get amazing photographs under some tough circumstances. Both of them were inspiring and I hope to chase with them again, so if this kind of experience interests you, I HIGHLY recommend SLT.  They are the best out there!! 

Anyway, I love road trips, so this part was fun for me, too. The majority of it was very flat. Oklahoma was really beautiful, more hills than I would have imagined and some rock formations here and there. The roads in OK-LA-HO-MA, Oklahooooooooo-ma…Yeah!! (Twister reference, I love you if you know what I’m talking about)…anyway, the roads aren’t great, especially if you have a full bladder.  I did. On the way home, and I had to hold it for a good 20 minutes through non-stop bumps. TMI? Sorry.


Wooooo doggy! Texas is super flat. Big, huge sky to look at, and it was glorious! After having lunch in Dumas, TX (insert snickering), we headed in the direction we had just come because that’s were the storms were forming.  Typical of chasing. Going back and forth quite a bit to find good position and the storm that will become the tornado producing super cell storm. It took about 3 hours for things to get organized and generate enough energy to become this beautiful and magnificent beast.  We watched storms grow, suck the life from others, and die themselves.  


I was getting nervous we weren’t going to see it (photograph it) before the light was gone…it was around 6:30/7pm and I knew sunset was at about 7:30pm.  And then it happened.  The first was a beautiful elephant trunk tornado that touched down briefly. I couldn’t believe my eyes…we were actually witnessing a real, live tornado. I literally chased after a dream and caught it.  We then jumped into the vans to get better position.  In front of us for just a second, was a giant wedge tornado.  It was almost too hard to see because of how dark it and the sky behind it was, but I promise you it was there. It then became rain-wrapped, so off we went racing down another road to no-where.


This whole time the winds feeding this storm were crazy.  As we were driving down 95 , just north of Eva, OK the winds that had been coming from the right side of the van suddenly switched and came from the left.  It was eerie. I know a modest amount of information about tornadoes, and I knew enough to believe that this could potentially be dangerous (but again, who was I to even think I was right-more about this later).  Our driver, Caryn, slowed for a second, and then we were out of there. Another tornado started to form and it was magnificent.  We got out of the van and watched as as a rope tornado, evolving into a tube, and at one point becoming sister tornadoes.  It was a spectacular first day of chasing that has made such a mark on my memory.  I don’t think I will soon forget the sights, the sounds, or the feelings.

That day was a glass half full kind of day…or maybe more like my cup runneth over. Yeah, that’s more like it.

More to come!



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