Mean Mango Smoothie

Surpassing both the Purple Power and Peach Pie, this my friends, is our new favorite smoothie!

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Mean Mango Smoothie
(1 serving)

1 mango, chopped
1/2 banana or orange, chopped
1 palm-full fresh spinach or 1 pureed frozen spinach cube
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 – 1/2 cup milk (we like almond milk)
1 tablespoon linkCode=as2&tag=goomormersun-20″>flax seed
, ground/powder (optional)
1 tablespoons chia seed, whole or ground/powder (optional)
1 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)
1 teaspoon matcha (optional)

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Smooth all ingredients with a blender or food processor and enjoy!

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TIP: Save time in the morning by preparing and refrigerating ingredients the night before.

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TIP: Buddy up, double the recipe!

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I’ve made this deliciousness at home plenty of times for hubby and I.

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Most recently my mom and I enjoyed this concoction as a quick lunch while visiting the beautiful Idyllwild, CA.

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Stayed tuned for more on our California travels through San Diego, Idyllwild, Tahoe and more. Cheers to a quick nutritious and delicious snack or meal!

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Walking Miracle Molly: Part II

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If you follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you probably already know that our walking miracle Molly had a second hemilaminectomy last week. While a repeat back surgery was pretty devastating, this experience was MUCH less excruciating than the last… for us all!IMG_2176

The difference between the two experiences was extremely enlightening, the last approach being more conservative than the most recent. While each disc disease case is unique, we hope Molly’s story will help other dachshund parents who may face such a circumstance.

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About a month or so ago we noticed a few minor signs that Molly may be having back issues again. Her posture was a little off, she had been moving a little slower and she yelped a couple times when pulling off her harness. To be safe we kept her exercise to a minimum and restarted some of her rehab exercises. In the following weeks all appeared to be normal, so off we went to visit my sister in San Diego as scheduled!

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 Upon arrival Molly’s gait looked great on her daily walks. On Saturday she had a ball running around, chasing the wind and a few birds on the fur friendly Imperial Beach.

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 Up until Sunday night all appeared to be completely normal. Molly pranced around our new neighborhood on her walk that evening and lounged on my lap while we watched TV after dinner. It was “business as usual” right before bed as well.

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 It wasn’t until I brought her back inside that things went astray. Instead of staying by my side as she normally does on travel, I found her sitting in the bathroom. When I encouraged her out, she hid under a side table. After some coxing she came out but sat in a corner and became very snappy when I tried to touch her. The same behavior had been displayed directly before discovering her first disc rupture, so we were immediately concerned.

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I put her on the bed, then we watched as she struggled to stand and walk. Little Miss Piggy even refused to come for a treat (by my toe below).

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Later I witnessed Molly dragging her hind legs in the bed as I began researching local vet neurologists. In the meantime literature was also found  suggesting only about 1% of dog disc ruptures are caused by a significant event and that disc disease common in dwarf dog breads in mainly based on genes. That explains a lot being that Molly has always been deterred from jumping, stairs, etc.

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In the morning Molly was still standing and eating normally but she seemed very uncomfortable. By that point we felt our poor boo needed to crated confined to avoid further disc damage.

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We left Molly in a make-shift cage and set out to find a crate and bedding at our fur child’s favorite store. On location Molly’s sister vet suggested a specialty veterinarian who was able to refer us to one of the same neurologists I’d found in my research the previous night.

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The Veterinarian Specialty Hospital is the only animal hospital who boasts not one but two board certified neurologists in the big city of  San Diego. They suggested we bring Molly into emergency care immediately, as which time we were introduced to Dr. Levistsky-Osgood who prescribed the pain reliever Tramadol and a steroid new to Molly, Prednisone, which was to reduce inflammation. To make a long story short, the steroid did NOT agree with Molly, so first thing the following morning the kind doctor recommended we bring Molly in immediately to rehydrate and reassess.

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It was clear to us and the attentive VSH team that Molly had deteriorated overnight. We were faced with the decision of how to proceed and were utterly confused being that our pervious experience had lead us to believe surgery should be a very last resort. The team provided us with some amazing statistics that lead us to proceed with a CT scan which would untimely allow us to identify exactly where Molly stood, literally.

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The chance of Molly walking again after surgery drops 40% after paralysis is reached, say what?! The scan results showed significant spinal canal blockage and disc damage with calcification evidence proving the injury had occurred some time ago. The statistics provided by VSH left us wondering why Molly’s previous neurologist had been adamant on waiting to proceed with surgery until mobility was lost. It was also concerning that the neighboring disc had ruptured when drilling on either side of her previous disc rupture was supposed to prevent such a reoccurrence in the same area of the spine. Please don’t get us wrong though, we will forever be grateful of our of fur child’s first walking miracle!

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This go round Molly went in and came out of surgery walking. She was SUPER wobbly, but still walking. After her last disc rupture, it took over a month to progress to the walking point she’s at now merely a week post op.  Check her out!

Molly got back to her old tricks today. She went sightseeing!

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Her exploring was minus the usual walking part of course since she’s been prescribed to strict crate rest for two full weeks other than taking a few steps to do her business.

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Despite the restrictions, she still had a heck of a time today thanks to some encouragement from my dad!

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There is NO doubt Molly will be back up and running as usual VERY soon! What a miracle!!

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Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Whether you’re Irish or not, this delicious little loaf makes an easy addition to any meal. There’s a good chance you already have what it takes to make this bread too if baking ingredients are kept in your kitchen. I borrowed inspiration from a nearly 5 star rated recipe with over 800 reviews, then lowered the fat content, pumped up the health factor and wha-la!

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or flour of choice)
2 cups unbleached white flour (or flour of choice)
2 – 4 tablespoons grade A maple syrup (or sugar)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup apple sauce (or similar pureed fruit)
3 tablespoons oil (we like olive or grape seed)
1 cup milk (almond is our favorite)
1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon chia seed/powder or 1 egg

Basting:
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon butter, cubedIrish Soda Bread

1.) Stir 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of vinegar/lemon juice and chia in a small bowl. (If using egg, add in step 2. In a ramekin stir ¼ cup of milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar/lemon juice. Set both aside, allowing a couple minutes to cure into buttermilk and develop an egg-like consistency.

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2.) Combine all bread ingredients in a bowl, adding the cured milk last. Knead using a stand mixer or by hand for 10 minutes.

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3.) Melt butter in the ramekin of buttermilk by microwaving for 30 seconds at a time until liquefied.

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4.) Turn a single mound of dough out onto a greased baking sheet, then baste with buttermilk.

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5.) Bake bread at 375 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes, basting every 10 – 15 minutes.

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Although Brian and I tested one slice each topped with almond butter and strawberry jam, this batch of bread was destined for something greater than tasty toast.  Since it was my first attempt at this kind of greatness, I made a back up loaf just in case.

Irish Soda BreadAn invite to make dessert for an Irish themed dinner party inspired the creation of Irish Soda Bread Pudding drizzled in Irish Cream Sauce, fresh berries sprinkled on top and crowned with a dollop of Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream.

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Stay tuned for all the Irish Soda Bread Pudding details, get excited. For now, please be inspired by Kim & Kyle’s Irish themed feast of kale deviled eggs, Guinness bread, potato cakes, mini pot pies, slaw and yummy chocolate Guinness cupcakes.

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Have a fabulous St. Patrick’s Day!

7 Layer Dip

Technically it’s called 7 Layer Dip but it should be called Infinity Dip. More or less, the layer options are endless in this so simple, yet so good dip that tends to disappear fast.

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As proof of our favorite party dip’s versatility, over the weekend this little number was fashioned into a mini vegan version for our cousins’ baby shower and a friendly Elmo face for our niece’s 2nd Sesame Street birthday party. Both spin-offs were a success, but more on that later. Let’s get to the recipe!

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7+ Layers of Possibilities:

1.) 16 ounces fat free refried beans -black, pinto or otherwise

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2.) 1 cup Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt (our favorite), Sour Cream, Cream Cheese or a combination

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3.) 1 cup Salsa

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4.) 2 cups shredded cheese –we like 2% sharp cheddar

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5.) 1 ripe tomato, diced –For Elmo, save the tomato topping for last.

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6.) 1 avocado, diced or guacamole

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7.) 1 bell pepper, seeded & diced –Use red for Elmo!

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8.) 2.25 ounces sliced olives

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9.) 2-3 green onions, chopped

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10.) jalapenos, slicedwhich you won’t find pictured due to being a touch too hot for our taste

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… and the list goes on! 7 Layer Dip is my favorite fail-proof go-to appetizer. In fact outside of the weekend’s events, it recently made an appearance on New Year’s Eve, at a house warming, a Sunday family dinner and for a split second at one big birthday bash just to name a few.

Leftovers are usually few and far between but if there are any, the remains make for some delicious burritos like the one I had for lunch.

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Getting back to the weekend, we had a FULL day of partying on Saturday beginning with Baby Davis’ beautiful yellow sunshine shower.

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It was our first co-ed baby shower other than the one I hosted a few years ago and let’s just say “the more the merrier” rang true! The super cute hand made décor, homemade food, giggle-inducing games and warm company were all amazing. I especially loved how the entire family (and family-esque friends) pitched in to make every fabulous detail come together. Congrats on your soon-to-be new addition, Davis Family!

(click to see entire photo)

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Immediately following the shower, we attended a lovely little birthday celebration.

Happy Day Hosts Jen & Jason served up delicious humus dips, sandwiches and cake from our favorite grocery store, Wegman’s. The Elmo 7 Layer Dip, monster cookies and deviled eggs were also devoured. I even got to join Jen in decking the place out in fun Sesame Street décor the day before after the stars aligned and my calendar opened up! The birthday girl was loaded up with gifts and we all chowed down on cake. Good food and good times were had by all.

(click to see entire photo)

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Whether you were celebrating or not, we hope it was a wonderful weekend for all!

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Tiramisu Minis

 

A Tiramisu Minis

Tiramisu Minis

18 baked sugar cookies
1/8 cup brewed coffee
8 ounces Mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons grade A maple syrup
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup coffee liqueur or brewed coffee

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1.) Baste cookies with coffee. I like to spike the coffee a touch, with about 1 teaspoon liqueur.

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2.) Combine Mascarpone, syrup and 2 tablespoons liqueur or coffee.

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3.) Scoop 1 tablespoon Mascarpone mixture onto each cookie.

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3.) Smear cookies with creamy Mascarpone goodness.

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4.)  Whip cream, vanilla and if desired, remaining liqueur or coffee (2-3 tablespoons) with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

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5.) Dollop each cookie with whipped cream, spread and adorn as desired.

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In this case berries added a pop of color, mini chips a touch of chocolate and wha-la!

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Buon appetito! These adorably delicious desserts accompanied a most fabulous Italian style dinner party.

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Thanks for hosting us, Deb, Eric and Maya! We enjoyed a masterpiece of a feast, literally with thanks to Instagram.

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Right down to the place settings, everything was amazing including the salad made by newlyweds Kim and Kyle. How cute are they?!

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Cheers to tiramisu of any kind! This recipe was inspired by a cake I’ve been making for years.

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… or at least since Christmas Eve 2006 when this inspiration was found. Below is a blur of my very first tiramisu venture. Eventually a from-scratch (a.k.a. healthier) version of the tiramisu cake recipe will be shared too, once the kinks are ironed out.

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Only thanks to not one but TWO test cakes completely flopping did this little gem of an idea come about. Everything happens for a reason, never give up hope!

A Tiramisu Minis

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