New Year’s Eve: Champagne Cocktail

Tomorrow officially marks the beginning of 2018. Can you believe it? 2018 seems like such a foreign and far off number to me, but crazy enough, that’s our reality! I have so many goals, aspirations, and intentions for 2018, but tonight I plan on celebrating all that 2017 had to offer.

It was a year that didn’t meet any of my expectations, which could be seen as a bad thing, but yet it was still a year full of happiness, exploration and firsts. Chad and I moved into our first home (twice). I got to visit 7 new states. We went to 6 National Parks. I got a new job. I learned SO MUCH about patience and the plan set out for my life. We made new friends, spent time with family, went to Mexico, made it through a few crossroads, and experienced all of the ups and downs that I think so many felt this year. It was a whirlwind. It was the first time that a year actually felt like longer to me, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

I hope 2018 brings more adventure, more changes of perspective, more clarity, but most importantly, even more happiness. But for now, I will be over here drinking this champagne cocktail in my sweat pants!

What are your dreams for the new year?

Champagne Cocktail:

  • 3 Shots of Andre Rose Champagne
  • 2 Shots of La Croix Lime Sparkling Water
  • 2 Shots of Orange Juice
  • 1 Shot of Whiskey
  • Ice Cubes

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Grocery Shopping Haul!

I used to hate going to the grocery store until I started getting to go with Chad. We have turned grocery shopping into such a fun activity that I actually look forward to our trips to the grocery store.

We usually come pretty well prepared with a lengthy list of all of the veggies, protein, and snacks that we need to buy. A few of our staple stock up items are:

  • Chicken
  • Ground beef/turkey
  • Cauliflower/Broccoli
  • Spinach salad
  • Lots of fruit
  • Greek Yogurt

This trip we needed all of the above, plus a lot more, since it had been Fourth of July weekend and we hadn’t had anything in our fridge for days. I love to find fun little new treats to try and healthy alternatives to some of my favorite things. This time I found some peanut butter and dark chocolate organic granola and a really good fat free and low calorie salad dressing. Also, dark chocolate covered almonds for a treat. And I am the queen of cheese and crackers, so every trip Chad and I try a new cheese from the specialty cheese section!

Once we got home and unloaded, I made a quick summer quinoa salad for dinner. Spinach, quinoa, red onion, broccoli, croutons and my new salad dressing made for a pretty colorful bowl of goodness!

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Oatmeal Cookies!

It was my birthday the other day, and I wanted to make something sweet to celebrate! I knew I would have cake at my family gathering, so I decided to make my favorite oatmeal cookies! Also, since I knew I would be eating poorly for a few days of celebration, I altered the recipe to make them healthier. Just to feel a little better.

I started with this oatmeal chocolate chip recipe from Just So Tasty that I found on Pinterest, and I substituted the sugar and used less butter and more honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted melted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 and 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugars.
  4. Add in honey, vanilla and egg to the butter/sugar and beat until combined.
  5. Gradually add in flour mixture while beating.
  6. Mix in oats and chocolate chips.
  7. Form 1 inch dough balls and place on cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 12-13 minutes.

These cookies turn out to be fluffier and thicker than your usual oatmeal cookies, but that’s why I love them! I ended up eating about 10 of them, so obviously that took away from adding a few healthier alternatives, but hey it was my birthday!

For an even healthier cookie recipe I made, go check out my Black Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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Roadtrip Anyone?

After Chad and I went on an adventurous vacation last winter, we vowed that our next big trip was going to be to a beach. False. I got a master plan to rent an RV and drive 3,000 miles in 9 days. The thought of endless landscapes, mountains, canyons and lakes, was calling my name. So, naturally, I convinced Chad that it was a brilliant idea that would allow us to see more of this country than we could ever imagine.

Fast forward six months later and we were loaded up in a 25 foot RV with our dog and cat, lots of winter weather clothes, and of course wine. The next 9 days took us through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. We went to 4 National Parks, Petrified Forest National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. We saw multiple “scenic views” that were National Park worthy. We reached elevations over 17,000 feet in an RV, which made me clinch my door until my hand lost circulation, but luckily I have a Northerner for a boyfriend. We saw so much. My eyes couldn’t comprehend a lot of what they saw and pictures don’t do all of the beautiful places justice, but here was my attempt at documenting it all.

Our first stop was Santa Fe and then we went through the Petrified Forest National Park and the Grand Canyon. Our second morning at the Grand Canyon, we woke up to a few inches of snow and everything was instantly more beautiful. Next stop, Utah!

  

We ended our trip with a stop through stunning, snow covered, Colorado, which posed a few logistical issues, but it was well worth breathing in that crisp cold air.

So, a few pointers if you ever consider taking an RV road trip:

  1. Take your time. Or limit your stops. It’s a little exhausting trying to cram so much into such a short period of time.
  2. Only go with someone you can stand to be with in very close quarters for long periods of time <3
  3. Soak up every single last second, because it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to see so much beauty.
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Tis the Season for Holiday Cards

When your friend asks you to take Christmas photos for them, you immediately say yes. Because first, it’s an opportunity to hang out with your friends and second, it’s fun to actually have time to work on your hobby. And sometimes, your friends are even sweet enough to reward you with a holiday Starbucks cup full of steaming hot macchiato goodness.

So, tis the season for holiday cards and for being kind and cheerful (but really, every season should be that way). Here are my super fun and photogenic friends with Christmas trees twice our height, festive berries and leaves the color of something so pretty you wouldn’t expect it to exist in nature. Happy holidays y’all!

 

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Oh hello!

WELL HELLO THERE.

I’m Stefanee and this is Touring Tastebuds. Basically I love food. And I love to travel. I’m not one of those people that goes on 10 major trips a year, but you can pretty much guarantee that I go somewhere new as many weekends as possible. Whether a day trip, a long weekend, or the few major trips (like tops 2 I have a full time job and “vacation days”) I take a year, my gauge of whether the trip was successful is always based on how well I ate. This category also includes coffee, because it’s a necessity to life.

Like I mentioned above, I have a full time job which implies a limited budget. So, long story short I can’t eat out every meal of my life (as much as that would be a dream come true). A piece of chicken or some frozen meal usually doesn’t cut it for me, so the other part to this blog is about the meals I make at home, if and when I think they’re impressive (by my own standards) enough to share.

The other contributor to this space will be Chad! Chad is my boyfriend and he is a Stefanee proclaimed health freak. Although he loves food just as much as I do, his dream meal would probably be a piece of grilled chicken with some really well cooked veggies. My dream on the other hand would be a hamburger with a side of pizza and a milkshake. Needless to say, we compliment each other well.

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So! We hope you enjoy reading about and seeing our adventures and the food encompassed in them!

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