Pumpkin Pie Cookies (Paleo)

It's that time of year! Seriously, I don't know about you, but I feel like I come alive in the fall time. I always have. The cozy, not too cold weather; the fruits and vegetables that are in-season, the colors, the smells, the comfy clothing, the excuse to do nothing at all.

I just love it. 

I also love the pumpkin craze. Yep, I'm one of those... I like to stock up on as many cans of pumpkin I can possibly get my hands on. And maybe some pumpkin yogurt, coffee, crackers, hummus. You name it.

So, naturally, I had to kick the season off right by making some pumpkin pie cookies. I love these cookies because I get my sweet tooth fix and just so happen to feel great after having one. I also don't mind giving Parker one since the ingredients are so simple.

Brasada Ranch Getaway

Last weekend Tyson, Parker and I grabbed both sets of Grandparents and headed to Brasada Ranch for some much needed relaxation. This place has been on my bucket list ever since I moved to Portland, so you can imagine the anticipation. 

Prior to our stay, we organized our itinerary: horseback riding, golf for the guys, spa time for Tyson and I, and of course... as much time as possible at the pool. I packed my camera and some books, making a commitment to myself to be off social media (except to post the fun photos of course) and be away from my email. Trust me, you don't want any distractions while you are there. 

As we pulled up to the ranch retreat, we received our keys to our 3-bedroom cabin from the main lodge and headed to our "home" for the next few days. Pulling up to our cabin, I felt like it was too good to be true. We were greeted by chirping birds, sunshine, a light breeze and the smell of juniper and sage; a recipe for a great vacation. 

After we all got settled in, the guys headed right out for their tee time. 

These three guys were like teenage boys at an adventure park. With permanent smiles on their face, I think it is safe to say they enjoyed the world-class golf course, very much.

Meanwhile, my mom and I enjoyed some horseback riding. 

hat: urban outfitters (similar) | scarf: urban outfitters | tank: topshop | sweater: 

We had the most amazing trail guide with us that day. She took us up and around the backside of Brasada where you get to see some great views of the mountains and soak up all the natural settings around you. 

I find riding horses to be so peaceful. 

The following day was spent swimming in the pool until our fingers pruned. Tyson insisted on taking Parker down the water slide. The overly cautious mom in me said, "heeeeck no," but ended up giving in. Needless to say, Parker was safe and one ridiculously happy camper.

The pool at Brasada is EXACTLY what we have been looking for in the Northwest. I'm from San Diego where there is no shortage of awesome pools and it is something I've missed a lot since moving to Portland. If only Brasada were closer, you would find my family posted there all summer long!

Next stop after the pool was some spa time for Tyson and I. I haven't been to a spa for a massage in a long time (I usually gravitate toward facial treatments), so this was SO needed. I opted for the Sleep Well massage, while Tyson chose the Athletic Recovery massage. I'm a pretty picky spa-goer (I worked at one for 6 years!), but I was incredibly impressed with the services. My massage felt so luxurious. They also have the coziest robes for you and the softest linens on the massage table. I'm a details person, so that meant a lot to me! 

My husband went for more of a productive massage; he's been pretty sore from running a lot and other lifting. He was so happy with his and felt like he got a lot out of it, which is exactly what he was hoping for. 

One extra great touch? They brought us cocktails after our massages. I don't think it gets better than that... ; )

The rest of the evening was spent hanging with our family. We all went out for dinner at Brasada's Ranch House which was perfect for a family. I went for their special which was a shrimp risotto and devoured it. All of us were super impressed with the food.

One thing you have to do, is make sure you grab some of their packets of s'mores and head to the fire pit on the property at sunset.

A desert sunset is breathtaking.

I'm really looking forward to coming back to this place. In fact, our whole family is too. It's one of those places that you want to keep as your summer family getaway every year. However, I kept telling everyone how I would love to see this place in the winter too. For such a kid-friendly place, you wouldn't believe how peaceful it feels. We all fantasized about living on the property the whole time we were there, so I think it's safe to say that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. 

Until next time, Brasada! Thanks for the great memories <3

Healthy Food Guide: Boise

(image from Juniper website)

Boise completely exceeded my expectations. Mark my word, 5 years from now this city will be THE SPOT. Until then, I will continue to enjoy the calm before the storm.

One thing that was pretty impressive to me, and very Portland like, was their dietary options. You can find great vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options just about anywhere. I also really liked their use of fresh produce and meats from local farms; and of course, their seasonal dishes that are everywhere. Go Boise! Which, by the way, is pronounced "boy-see," I learned that quickly when I kept saying "I love "Boy-Z!" : )

Happy eating!

Best Healthy Breakfast Spots

1. Wild Root Cafe (Vegan/Gluten-Free Options): Whatever you do, don't leave Boise without trying this place, especially if you are a total health nut. I loved the egg dish, Wild Skillet. They use a cashew "cheese" and you can even order the dish with vegan eggs (I just ordered regular, cage-free eggs). Oh, and their avocado toast! I want to eat that every.single.day. Seriously!

2. Fork (Vegan/Gluten-Free Options): This spot is a sure bet for brunch. They pride themselves on local, sustainable foods (some they get the same day at the city market!!). They have so many great options and it is a true Northwest fare.

3. Bacon (Vegan/Gluten-Free Options): This is the perfect spot to go if you have a healthy foodie AND a meat-eating- 'don't really care if it is healthy or not' foodie. It is a great place to grab brunch with a group and their Bloody Mary's are the best in town! I ordered The Poser for breakfast, which was a nice, light, egg white dish and it was deeeelicious.

4. Slow by Slow (Vegan/Gluten-Free Options): This is the cutest little coffee shop with some great pastries and quick things like granola and tasty, local kombucha.

5. Java (Vegan/Gluten-Free Options): A great place for either breakfast or lunch. They've got great drinks and super tasty breakfast burritos.

Best Healthy Lunch Spots

1. Bleubird (Gluten-Free Options): This was one of my favorite places for lunch in Boise. They change their menu depending on the season, but I highly recommend the grilled cheese (insert excited emoji). This is great spin on a traditional deli!

2. Boise Co-op (Vegan/Gluten-Free Options): This is such an amazing Co-op! If you want to grab something on-the-fly and affordably, you can find just about anything you would want here.

3. Jenny's Lunch Line (Vegan/Gluten-Free Options): You will find some delicious soups, salads and sandwiches made from scratch here. They change their menu monthly too, so it is always fun to see what is new and seasonal here. This place is so yummy!

Best Healthy Dinner Spots

1. Bittercreek (Vegan/Gluten-Free Options): I loved this place! It is the perfect spot to go with a group or girls and guys. Everything we ate (and drank) was super tasty. I ordered an Old Fashioned and the veggie burger and was one happy camper!

2. Juniper (Vegan/Gluten-Free Options): The ambiance and decor here is what first sold me, but their menu seals the deal! This is the perfect dinner date spot. They have really good, crafty cocktails and are also extremely food allergy friendly.

3.State & Lemp (Vegan/Vegetarian Options): This is the best spot if you are looking for a culinary experience. This is a reservation-only, prixe fixe menu and features a really beautiful Northwest cuisine. It doesn't get any fresher than their food. And (bonus), they are extremely accommodating to anyone with dietary restrictions!

4. Barbacoa (Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options): This is a really great dinner option (with a great view). It is a bit on the pricey side, but you get a ton of food, so make sure you go there hungry! I would highly suggest one of their seafood dishes.


My 12-Year-Old Style

Overalls (Gap -similar) | Shoes (Brooks) | Shirt (old Forever 21)

It's a good thing I work at an athletic modeling agency where "athleisure" gets a total green light, because I don't think I could ever have enough trainers. I was pretty excited to finally find a good pair of light weight white ones. I am a big fan of the classic looking tennis shoes and Brooks nailed it with these!

And overalls... these are still my jam lately. I feel like the older I get, the more my wardrobe resorts back to my youth. Most of my outfits these days are a glimpse back at my 12-year-old self. 

Cauliflower "Rice" with Swiss Chard and Crimini Mushrooms

Ever since Trader Joes started selling the frozen organic riced cauliflower, I have been hooked! This is such a simple, lighter, starch-less option to pair with dinner and if made correctly, I would take this over actual rice any day. 

Oh, and mom tip: It takes about 8 minutes to make (win!). I don't have time for complicated meals anymore!

Anyway, have fun with this stuff! I mix up my cooking style with the "rice", depending on what is in the fridge and what I feel like. I also love make it with turmeric and shaved brussel sprouts. And even better, Parker loves it too. 

Cauliflower "Rice" with Swiss Chard and Crimini Mushrooms

1 bag of frozen cauliflower rice OR 1 head of cauliflower riced by food processor
2 C. swiss chard, chopped
1 C. crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 Tbs. grapeseed oil 
1 Tsp. garlic powder 
1 Tsp. sea salt + extra if needed
2 shakes of cayenne pepper


Turn stove up to medium-high heat
Add cauliflower rice and mushrooms
Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over rice and mushrooms
Cook for about 5 minutes
Add in oil, then the swiss chard
Add in garlic, sea salt and cayenne 
Cook until soft (about another 3-5 minutes)
Take a taste test to see if you need anymore salt

Turn off heat, serve and enjoy!