This is my spot.

Maui Birthday Funtimes!

This lucky gal just returned from six nights on Maui that by went way too quickly!! It was fantastic to get a break from the cold winter weather in Portland for a bit and celebrate my birthday in style with old friends. Every time I go to Hawaii I kick myself for not booking a trip for twice the duration. It was my fourth time to that particular island and I fall in love with it a little more each time. Very different from Kauai, and someday soon I’ll have to give the other islands a shot. As someone who grew up in the Bay Area of California, I suspect it’s the microclimates and laid back culture that make me feel so at home on Maui.

The trip started out on a nice note when the woman at the Budget desk decided that I needed a free upgrade to a Mustang instead of the economy Chevy compact I’d reserved. That was seriously awesome and unexpected. I had a ton of fun driving that sexy, black beast around the island. If only you could legally drive over 50mph anywhere on the islands! My rigorous daily schedule included a fresh fruit breakfast by the pool, an hour or two at the beach with a picnic lunch, and when the sun became too strong for my northern european heritage, I retreated indoors to spend the afternoon hunting for the best $3 Mai Tai on the island.  Once sufficiently hydrated, it was back to the beach to watch the sunset with the locals.  After the sun went down, it was time for gourmet meals, desserts, Oregon Pinots (ha!), dancing to Reggae, and burning the midnight oil catching up with my bestie.

My friend since the first grade and her friends treated me like royalty and made me feel so welcome.  It was a great time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Traveling alone offers excellent opportunities to step outside your comfort zone, people watch, and enjoy some serious introspection. To my surprise I didn’t read a single book aside from the one I finished on the plane. Apparently this trip was all about writing and listening to the waves, birds, and breeze. I am proud to report this haole made it through the week without turning into a lobster girl!  I have a new love of real bananas and a nice golden glow to remind me of my lovely trip. I am so grateful for this new year ahead of me and the friends I get to share the adventures with along the way.

Little Hacks Everywhere

I’ve been away from my blog for a while, which is weird after spending so much time bringing my new little corner of the internet to life with throw pillows and comfy chairs. There’s some really fun stuff to talk about later and pictures to post, but I just noticed this little bug in my site customization that is probably going to drive me bonkers until I fix it (about five seconds after posting this.) I really didn’t like the abbreviated format of the most recent post on the main page so I tweaked my theme late one night, but now I realize that the formatting of my Dirty Lemon Chicken recipe is horrid unless viewed as a single post. Ah, attention to detail and the dangers of late night hacks. Let’s file this under a lesson in personal growth.  😉

Dirty Lemon Chicken

If you’ve never tried preserved lemons before, prepare to discover one of your favorite ingredients that you never knew existed.  Commonly used in Moroccan dishes, these culinary delights are kind of like lemon pickles, though that description doesn’t do them justice, and they have an umami quality I wouldn’t ever expect from a lemon. I stumbled across them last year while reading a recipe for an autumn stew and next thing I knew they seemed to be in every recipe I came across. I began my first batch of preserves last winter and they are now a staple in my kitchen.  Meyer lemons are best for this and not as easy to find during other seasons, so if you want to try out a batch yourself, go scoop up some organic lemons and give it a whirl. I’ll happily give you pointers.  New Seasons recently offered a preserved lemon demo showing how to use them in various recipes, so you can probably find them at any high-end market these days as they become more mainstream.

I love adding them to pastas, stews, and salad dressings.  Heck, recently I even made a box of Tuna Helper a lot more special by chopping up preserved lemon peel and adding it as a garnish. Nothing like a gourmet white trash dinner. My latest experiment is what I like to call “Dirty Lemon Chicken” because the salt preserved lemons give it such a nice kick, kind of like a dirty martini. Hmmm, me thinks I’m experimenting with a preserved lemon cocktail next…stay tuned.


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (any cut of chicken would work)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon preserved lemon brine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Tenderize the chicken breasts. Rinse the preserved lemon to remove some of the salt if you desire. Chop up the preserved lemon, including the rind, making sure to remove seeds. Mince the garlic and rosemary. Mix the lemon, garlic, rosemary, brine, and olive oil well. Pour the mixture over the chicken and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.  Place chicken in a roasting pan and cover tightly with foil. Roast at 170 for 90 minutes then turn up the temperature to 200. Remove tinfoil and cook for 30-45 minutes until chicken and lemons are slightly golden brown.


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