Spin on a grilled cheese!

Spinach and Artichoke grilled cheese! It was so delicious I can’t even describe how delicious it was! so here are the ingredients and instructions on how to make this beauty!

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon butter 1 clove garlic, minced or grated

1 tablespoon flour 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%, but whatever you have will be fine)

1 ounce cream cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used 0%)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup (about 5 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 (6.7 ounce) jar grilled artichoke hearts or you can sub marinated artichokes, chopped

8 slices thick sourdough or tuscan bread butter, for spreading

DIRECTIONS:

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in flour until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in milk. Stir and cook one minute, if your paste gets too thick splash in more milk.
Add cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan and pepper. Stir until cheeses are melted. Stir in the greek yogurt until smooth. Chop artichokes and spinach and add to the sauce. Stir to combine. Dip will be thick, just use some muscle and stir in those veggies!
Heat a skillet (or griddle, etc) oven medium-low heat. Butter the outsides of every bread slice, then spread a good amount (any where from 1-3 tablespoons) of the spinach and artichoke dip on the inside (the non-buttered side) of each slice. If using, top one slice with the sliced grilled chicken. Top off with another slice of bread, buttered-side up. Cook until each side is golden and crisp and cheese is melted, then gently flip and do the same.
Slice and serve! Enjoy!

OC! OC! OC!

Here is the video of me getting OC sprayed for the ASF Academy. It was absolutely MISERABLE!!! It felt like i dumped sand and ghost peppers into my eyeballs and rubbed it all around for 45 minutes. It even made my forehead swell up! But now I have something to laugh about and hopefully never have to do it again. Enjoy watching me go through hell and get the wind knocked out of me haha

P.S. Sorry about the crazy camera movement! Apparently the person I asked to record me was his first time ever touching technology lol.

Gluten Free Veggie Pizza!

This pizza was delicious! I was just kind of messing around with the stuff I had leftover in my fridge and this lovely thing happened. 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

1 box of Glutino Pizza Crust Mix (follow instructions on box to make dough)

1 jar of Basil Pesto from Ever’Man’s Whole Food Store. (put on enough to cover dough, leave space for crust)

1 handful of spinach

1 handful of kale

1 handful of shredded cheese

1 handful of feta cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

I made little mini pizzas so they would fit in my toaster oven. You can make them any size you like and of course can cook in a normal oven. (I live in a barracks so my cooking utensils are limited.)

Ball up the dough into the amount of pizzas you want and then flatten out into circles. Take a couple spoonfuls of the basil pesto sauce and put it straight on the dough and spread it out. (leave room for a crust). Then I chopped up the spinach and kale and put that on next. Then put some shredded cheese on next and then top off with feta cheese crumbles!

Bake in oven for 7-12 minutes at 350 degrees F or until golden brown.

No fuss, No muss. You don’t have to stress about this meal! Quick, easy and no measuring, just the way I like it!

NOTE: This dough is GREAT fresh. I packed it for lunches at work to re-heat and the dough didn’t have the same texture. It was still delicious, but I think it was just because it was gluten free pizza dough.

Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Welcome to Paradise City

Aloha! Next stop on my Navy travels was Peal Harbor, Hawaii on the island of Oahu! I went there on the USNS Mercy for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC 2014) exercise. Basically it is where 23 different countries get together in the middle of the ocean and run exercises and war games. It was a super cool experience! It took us 10 days to get to Hawaii where we were in port for 20 whole days! It only took us 7 days to get back to San Diego because we had to out run a hurricane that was about to hit  Hawaii. Oahu was everything you could dream of and more. It is pure paradise, so relaxing and crazy expensive. The sunsets on the ship and on the island were something that looked like it popped straight out of National Geographic magazine. The amount of things you can do on just one island is limitless. Sipping mojitos on Waikiki Beach, cliff jumping at the Makapu’u Tide Pools, hiking so many different mountains with waterfalls, hiking the Lanakai Pillboxes, trying the famous banana pancakes at the 49ers cafe and visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center were just some of the things I did on my trip. I seriously recommend going to Hawaii at some point in your life! Here’s some pictures of my adventure on the ship and on the island. (I would have more but i left my camera on top of the car and it flew off on the highway and smashed into smithereens unfortunately.)

P.S. Wear sunscreen!!! The sun in Hawaii is on a completely different level! I got third degree burn on my neck (crazy blisters) which you can kind of see in one of the pictures below. That was my one regret of the trip. Don’t be like me hahaha

abandon ship drill cliff jumping hawaii back of truck hawaii beach selfie hawaii dress ootd hawaii palm trees1 hawaii palm trees2 manning the rails me and mackey dinner me and mackey funny me and maraan mercy mercy amigos Mercy fitness with mackey MERCY OPS MERCY OPS dept. funny mercy picstitch Mercy sunset mercy sunset with doby mercy, me and mackey selfie w: ships oahu mountains pillbox hike pillbox hike flex RIMPAC 2014 Birds eye view RIMPAC dinner selfie in hawaii sunburn top of pillbox hike1 top of pillbox hike2 top of pillbox hike3 top of pillbox hike4 Uke

The pictures from the Polynesian Cultural Center will have to be in a seperate post because there is way too many pictures. Check it out!

California, The state of dreams and self-realization

Ooohhh California how I miss you. I was only there for five and a half months which is not that long compared to the ten months i spent in Chicago. I felt like I accomplished so much when I was there. This is where I really started to break out of my comfort zone and explore! I’m kind of, no scratch that I AM an introvert so going out and meeting new people and trying new things is seriously not my forte. I really don’t know what it was about California that made me so happy. There was just so much to do and I didn’t want to miss out!

Coronado Island was my safe haven. I could go there by myself and just escape from everyone and everything. The beaches were beautiful and everyone there seemed so happy, laughing, smiling and running on the streets with their dogs. The environment was just calm and inspiring and i never wanted to leave. But the fact that living there is for basically the billionaires because of the very limited space was my daily ticket back to reality.

Coronado Island Selfie

The city of San Diego was bustling with activity all the time! Basically anywhere you go in San Diego there will always be something to do, which I loved. They had great shopping and I found myself constantly overindulging in all the amazing food they had.

I started adventuring out and trying new things and instantly got hooked. I went kayaking through the caves in La Jolla, California. It was super fun, beautiful and a good workout too! If you do this try to go close to sunset, the views will be amazing!

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I “hiked” (AKA drove to the top and parked at the memorial) Mt. Soledad. Which at the top it has a veterans memorial that is very well done and just amazing to see the history. The view is priceless, looking over the coast of the small town of La Jolla.

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Mt. Woodson was an actual hike. It was an 8 mile hike (round-trip) total. It was definitely a workout and the terrain at times was kind of difficult, but I loved the challenge. The views going up and once you get to the top are unforgettable. Breathtaking even. It makes you just want to sit on a giant rock and meditate to take it all in. Quite a few people actually did. I tried it, wasn’t for me. I just kept trying to adjust my body so the rock wasn’t stabbing me in the ankle bone. I have no idea how people do that for hours on end but more power to you! At the very top of the hike there is this awesome rock formation I guess you could say. Some people call it “The Potato Chip Rock” or “The Cliff-hanger”. If you take a picture from a certain angle it looks like you are just hanging over the edge of a cliff of nothingness. In all reality there is ground about 10-15 feet below you. My advice for this hike: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Pack a good amount of water and maybe some snacks but don’t over pack. If you have a professional camera BRING IT you will get some amazing pictures. I only had an iPhone 5s and I still got some great shots but I digress. Start your hike EARLY, like around 0700 or 0730. For one it won’t be as hot, secondly the line gets crazy long to take a picture on the potato chip rock the closer you get into the afternoon. All around it was an amazing hike that I would love to do again.

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Knott’s Berry Farm. It’s an amusement park that has about 11-12 big rides and I believe a waterpark but don’t quote me on that. I went when they were doing the deal where military/veterans got free admission. So, me and my friends just paid for the fast passes and rode all of the big rides at least once if not twice. I had a BLAST.

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Of course I had to make a pit stop in LA and go to the Walk of Fame! There were some really weird people on those streets haha. So many people dressed up in costumes like celebrities or movie characters and they take donations if you want to take a picture with them. We spent a little too much time at the walk of fame so by the time we made it to the Hollywood sign it was completely dark out and I couldn’t get a picture of the sign. 😦 But we did drive up the little mountain/hill it was on and saw an amazing view of the city lights of LA.

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As you could probably tell by this really long blog post I really loved California. Would not mind living there one bit! A lot of memories and great friends were made here. If you ever have the opportunity to go here, DO IT! It is so worth it 🙂

First Stop On The Navy Train….

Chicago! I graduated Navy boot camp in Great Lakes, IL and also went to my 10 month long school there to learn my job. Chicago is a BEAUTIFUL city! Coming from a really small town in Michigan, it was kind of a culture shock in a way. There was soooo many people and their personal space bubble was not that big haha. I tried to do and see as much as I could there but I was in school most of the time with not a whole lot of freedom. Anyways…here are some photos from my time in Chicago, IL!!

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The Beginning of my Journey

My adventure all started after I graduated Gaylord Highschool in 2011. I decided to move four hours away from all of my family and most of my friends to move in with my childhood best friend Amanda near Detroit, Michigan. We started at Baker College on our journey to become Veterinary Technicians. We both love animals like crazy (sometimes more than people) and thought of no better career. Amanda was very determined and knew exactly what she wanted. Me on the other hand was completely unsure of everything. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, where i wanted to be, or WHO I wanted to be. Some aspects of a career with animals scared me (cutting them open, euthanasia, etc.). I ended up switching to Macomb Community College to just work on my general education courses and figure things out. I met Mary in my French 2 class, who quickly became one of my best friends and let me move in with her and her family. Both Amanda and Mary had taught me so much about life and myself but I still had a lot to figure out. Little did I know that I would sort of spontaneously join the Navy in the spring of 2012.

Me at my graduation from Gaylord Highschool.

Graduating Gaylord Highschool

Me and Amanda

me and Amanda

Mary, Me, Brendan

Mary, Me, Brendan

Me and my mom after I swore into the Navy

Mom and Me, MEPS

And Me after I graduated bootcamp!

bootcamp grad picture Dress Whites

To be continued…

Vegan Mac & Cheese

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Vegan Mac and Cheese!
(can be gluten-free)

Reprinted with permission.
■3 to 3 1/2 cups dry cut pasta (ex: macaroni, penne) (about 10 oz)
■3/4 cup raw cashews (see “nutrition facts” link below for a nut-free version)
■1/2 cup raw brazil nuts
■3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
■1 medium clove garlic
■2 tsp arrowroot powder
■1 tsp sea salt
■1/2 tsp onion powder
■1/4 tsp (rounded) dry mustard
■1 cup water
■1 1/2 cups milk of choice (preferably: unsweetened almond or soymilk)
■2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

For breadcrumb topping:
■3/4 to 1 1/4 cups dry whole-grain breadcrumbs (See “nutritional info” link below, for gluten-free option)
■1/2 to 1 tbsp olive oil
■Couple pinches sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Throw pasta into a deep pot of boiling salted water. While pasta is cooking, blend all sauce ingredients (ingredients 2-11) in a blender or in a deep bowl with an immersion blender. Once pasta is almost tender, fully drain (don’t rinse). Mix noodles with sauce, and immediately pour into a lightly oiled 8 x 12” baking dish. (It will look like there is a lot of runny sauce – it will thicken up, trust the pasta!) Mix breadcrumb toppings in a small bowl, then sprinkle over top of casserole. Cover with foil and bake for 17-18 minutes. Then, remove foil cover and bake another 5-7 minutes or until topping is golden brown and crisped. Don’t overbake or sauce will get too thick. Remove from oven and place vegan macaroni and cheese casserole on a hot plate (rather than on top of oven, since residual heat from oven will continue to thicken the sauce). Serve!

Texas Caviar

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Texas Caviar:
2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can black eyed peas (drained and rinsed)
1 can white corn (drained)
1 can sweet corn (drained)
1 smalled red onion (diced)
1 large green pepper (diced)
2-3 Avocados (diced and add in when serving, optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chopped green chilies
1 large bottle zesty italian dressing (can use low-fat)