Tag Archives: ibotta



Hey, let’s catch up! 

{Got this idea from Courtney at Semi-Sweet Eats.}

I started this post on April 29th and then never posted it…. So here are answers from 4/29 and today. Some have changed… some have not!

Currently reading…

April: Still Life – a novel set in Quebec!

May: Sacré Blues – nonfiction about Quebec!

Can you guess where our next international trip destination is?!

Currently listening to… 

April: Prince – ‘cuz who isn’t?

May: The same running mix over and over and over…

Current guilty pleasure…

April & May: Reading, reading and more reading. Most nights, you’ll catch me with a glass of wine or cup of tea:

Currently drinking…

April: Tom Gore Cabernet – one of my new faves I discovered on ibotta.


May: LSD! They’ve got it on tap at Indeed right now. It tastes like summer to me!

Currently eating…

April: All The Clementines

May: Tacos, Tacos and More Tacos

Currently watching…

April: Master of None – with Aziz Ansari. So funny!

May: Orphan Black – I was hooked on Episode 1!

Currently needing…

April: More time… off, that is. One of my travel tips is to vacation wherever you know someone and have been invited. We got so many invitations this year and I just am maxxed out on vacation time! I know… First World Problems.

May: New running shoes. These have been my fave… And I always get the new current Asics Gel Cumulus, but I just loved the fit and color of these best. #RIP


Currently celebrating…

April: Our 6-year wedding anniversary

May: A work bonus. Off to Sul Lago we goooooo…

Current bane of my existence…

April: The Vikings Stadium project*

May: The Vikings Stadium project* – Isn’t it over yet?!!

This has nothing to do with me being a Packer fan. It has to do with my day job. I think we are all ready to be done. It’s not even worth my energy to explain.

Currently crushing on…

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May —- THE LIBRARY!

This one is not going away, people. I will heart the library forever and ever.

 Currently thankful for…

April: Babbel – This is a foreign language app where you can practice and learn anywhere! It’s $19.99 for three months. I just do a lesson or two every day. I’ve been brushing up on my French for our trip to Quebec!

May: My Garmin VivoActive – I originally bought this for the heart rate monitor, but also to track my steps and workouts. But what? I can download golf courses, get my yardage and record my shots! What the … WHAT?! Really, I am loving it for the heart rate monitor. I always feel like I’m going sooooo slow, especially compared to Rob (who doesn’t run often) and when I see my time. But then, I realize I’m in Zone 4 half the time (80 – 90%) and Zone 5 the other half (90 – 100%). This is telling me I shouldn’t push it so hard. Rob is telling me that because I’m so slow, it’s probably not very accurate. Your thoughts?


Current slang…

APRIL & MAY: “All The Things” – It may be overused at this point, but I love this.

{BTW: I couldn’t stand “epic” when it was overused and I still hate “failure is not an option.” That one doesn’t even make sense. Of course it’s not. Failure happens even if we don’t choose it. The most successful people in the world fail! That’s how they become successful. Fail down seven times, get up eight.}

Currently wearing…

April: One of my new favorite outfits! Blue is normally my favorite color, but this green just makes me smile!


May: New Jeans! I went about six months sans jeans {really!} when my last pair died. I just hate shopping. On a whim, I walked into Sears one day {I never shop there} and decided to try on some jeans. I found these!


I was happy to pay the $34.99 for jeans that fit me and that were comfortable. {I usually have to try 20 pairs until I find one that I like. I hate shopping!} But when I got to the register both the Canyon River Blues Skinny Straight Jeans and Straight Leg Jeans were on sale for $20! Needless to say, I immediately went on line and tried to get all of the colors possible.

Currently excited for…

April: Our next vacation. Is that bad having just come back from one? I like always having one lingering in the distance. Planning is fun!

May: Seeing Rob’s parents soon, with a pit stop to see mine on the way!

Currently feeling…

April: Balanced. Never thought that would happen! I’m working out five days a week: running three {C25k again}, lifting weights two … and aiming for 7,500 steps a day when I am not running and 10,000 when I am. #realistic

But really, I’ve been trying to do all of these things every day; and when I do, I feel balanced and happy:

  • Something active
  • Play with pooches
  • Read – me time!
  • Write or take photos for the blog
  • Babbel – an app to catch up on my French

MAY: Energized. Doesn’t everyone in Minnesota kind of wake up when the weather gets this nice?!

What is CURRENTLY happening with you?


Cooking, Running & Things I’m Lovin’


What is this blog coming to?!

Most of my posts lately have been about the imbibing I’ve done this summer. Well, that’s not all I’ve been doing! This blog has kind of evolved into a record of where we eat, drink and travel. It really helps us remember what we loved {or hated} and what we’d like to try or do next time when we return.

Yet, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking of beef or pork dishes from our Recipe Arsenal during the week.

In addition, if you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you may remember that when my husband goes out of town, I start to cook up a storm! And most often, I’m making all of the dishes that Rob cannot have!

I had two long weekends back-to-back when Rob was gone and had a lot of dishes I wanted to action!


What I’m Loving Right Now!

First off, I need to give a shout out to my new favorite brew. No, it’s not beer. It’s cold press coffee! I’m a little late to the cold press game. A few years ago I tried an Iced Americano. Despite my love of the original, I learned that I did not like cold coffee at all, which is what I thought cold press was!

It is not the same.

To make cold press coffee, grounds are steeped in cold water for at least twelve hours. After filtering the result is something much smoother than regular coffee!

I discovered Chameleon Cold-Brew on my ibotta app: 


The ibotta app offers rebates on specific items {including items you already buy like milk, bread, eggs and produce}! The rebate was $2 for the Chameleon Cold-Brew and the item was on sale at Target. Not only was that a win; but I also fell in love with it. It did wonders on the those humid weekend mornings we had a few weeks back!

Something else I fell in love with over those weekends? This Roasted Garlic Parmesan Shrimp {now in my recipe arsenal!} aka Death Row Shrimp. After making these shrimp, I decided that there must be a bag of shrimp in my freezer at all times.

My life has been changed.



On those Saturday mornings while the cat was away, I got some long runs in. I haven’t talked a lot about running lately on my blog. That’s because I haven’t been doing races or working toward any particular running goals. I’d like to think I’m practicing Intuitive Running. I think I just made that up.

What I mean is that after my back surgery, it took me a lot longer than expected to run comfortably again. So instead of trying to achieve a goal or new PR, I just run the way it feels right on that particular day. I generally stick to shorter, faster {for me!} runs during the week and do a 5k on Saturdays. If something is feeling off, I walk instead. I don’t want anything to set me back like that back pain and back surgery. I am grateful I can run now and know that I’m still benefiting if I stop to walk!



After my Saturday morning 5k during those weekends Rob was out of town, I’d walk down to the local Farmers Market and get a haul of goodies:


I just might start munching on those cucumbers right away…


And my pooches just might beg for those cucumbers right away while I’m munching!


All that zucchini had me desperate to try to make this Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup. After some chopping, into the pot it went.IMG_3918 (1)

It came out a little less silky then I’d hoped; but maybe I can just use less water next time.

IMG_3921 (1)

There is a really nice hint of spice here. But it still had me questioning how Melissa can possibly eat it for breakfast. I decided to give it a shot one morning with my other array of beverages!


Magic Green Smoothie, Ice Water, Hot Lemon Water, Chameleon Cold Press Coffee, Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup

It really did work! And it’s very filling, despite the little calories a small bowl contains.

Another morning, I attempted to make Cloud Bread for the first time. This is a “bread” made of eggs, cream cheese and cream of tartar. I was warned that it’s not exactly like real bread.


I also read that it could be crumbly if you eat them the same day, even after cooling. The trick is to put them in a ziplock bag and they will stiffen up overnight. It did look like nice toasted bread, though. {Note: I added chives!}


However, it did taste pretty egg-y. This might matter if you are using cloud bread as hamburger buns. This didn’t matter so much with my morning eggs!

The next morning, I made one of my favorite 90 Second Egg Sandwiches with the Cloud Bread. Still tasted Just Fine.


I did freeze one piece of Cloud Bread and tried to toast it the following weekend; but I wasn’t paying attention and it sort of burned. For the effort, I’m not sure I’d make Cloud Bread again.

In other breakfast news…

I also learned that this Gluten-Free Breakfast Casserole freezes really, really well. I made it a few weeks ago when I was having the girls over for brunch. I had so much leftover that I attempted to freeze it. It worked! It was an easy go-to breakfast during the work week. I would totally bring this dish for a work lunch, too!

Speaking of lunches…

My farmers market hauls aided me in using up other items in my freezer and pantry to make some scrumptious salads, like my fave Big Mac Salad and this random chicken salad:


Another day, for lunch, I made a double batch of a favorite of mine – Mini Salsa Turkey Meatloaves –  so that I could freeze a few for future lunches!


That side of green beans was made with this seasoning that I once received from a Foodie Penpal:


Yum! is the verdict on that one. I made a few other random things, too, like these Hot Fudge Brownie Larabars.

Yes, the mix looked like fertilizer:


And I’ll spare you the photo of what they looked like after I formed them into bars {or, with my talent, oblong shapes}. I’m sure you can picture that one for yourself.

I also made a few of my own spice blends. I was out of Italian Seasoning, which was needed to make my Homemade Italian Breadcrumbs, which were needed in my Mini Salsa Turkey Meatloaves, so I made an easy version.

Which got me to thinking, I really needed to somehow replace the Pampered Chef Rosemary Herb Seasoning I like to put on my popcorn, now that it is discontinued. I found a few recipes online and tried this version. Verdict? Not exactly the same, but still very good. It’ll do!

Rosemary Herb Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. dried grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp. dried leaf oregano crushed
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

I omitted the dried grated lemon peel because I didn’t have it.

And lastly, after another Farmers Market haul the following weekend…


I made my first ever Homemade Vegetable Broth based on this and this recipe.

I now have several cups of low-sodium frozen vegetable broth in my freezer! In fact, this past weekend, I’ve filled up our entire freezer with lots of meats and crockpot-ready meals for this fall.

What I didn’t have time for, but wish I did was to make a batch of this flavorful homemade chorizo {it has been a while!}. I also want to take a shot at making this homemade merguez.

What are your favorite things to cook when you have extra time?

What things do you like to cook for yourself when you don’t have to worry about anyone else’s likes or dietary constraints?

What do you stock in your freezer?