eats, extras

Van Life: What Our Friends Eat On The Road

Today’s special extra comes from our DINK friends, Courtney and Bryce Zinckgraf. For those of you who don’t know us, Courtney and Bryce are the reason we’re married and so in love. They paired us to walk down the aisle together at their wedding, and the rest is history. But this post isn’t about us – it’s about them!

img_0395

“Hi! We are from Jacksonville, FL. We quit our jobs, bought a 30-year-old van named Hidalgo and fixed it up. Now, we are living full time in the van while we drive around America seeing National Parks and meeting cool people.”

For those of who haven’t seen any of their videos yet, you’re in for a real treat. You can follow their journey HERE (and hit “Subscribe” – you won’t regret it).


But this EXTRA is all about their most recent video, which is what they eat in a typical day. We wanted to share two of their recipes with you, since we’re such foodies! See the full video and the two recipes below:

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

Ingredients:
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 Avocado
  • ½ Medium onion
  • 1 Apple -1 tomato
  • Salt to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
Directions:
  • Empty chickpeas into a large bowl
  • Mash about ½ to ¾ of the chickpeas
  • Add avocado and mash to combine
  • Dice the onion, apple, and tomato
  • Add diced onion, apple and tomato to bowl with chickpeas and avocado
  • Add salt and garlic powder to taste
  • Stir to combine
Other things that are good in chickpea salad sandwich:
  • Mustard
  • Celery
  • Pickles
  • Lots of possibilities!

Peanut Butter Stir Fry

Ingredients:
  • Rice Noodles (check package for serving size and cooking instructions)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 small package of mushrooms
  • 1 head of broccoli Sauce
  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic (or however much you want)
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger (or however much you want) –
  • Splash of water to thin it out
Directions
  • Cook rice noodles based on packaging instructions
  • While the noodles are cooking combine all of the sauce ingredients and mix well
  • Dice the onion and pepper
  • Cut up the broccoli
  • Lightly stir fry the onions, pepper, mushrooms and broccoli (or cook to your liking)
  • Combine rice noodles, veggies, and sauce
  • Mix to combine

Viola – there you have it! A special treat from our two friends who are pursuing their dreams and have the most incredible videos and photos to prove it. We hope you enjoyed this EXTRA and continue following Courtney and Bryce on YouTube or Instagram.

img_0394

dogs, life

Bad Luck Comes In Threes

There is an old saying that bad luck comes in threes, and let us tell you, it hit us hard recently. It’s why we haven’t been as active as we would have liked to be on here – especially this past week.

We encourage you to lean in, learn more, and maybe even help us conquer this bad luck curse.


Floating On Air

Do you ever feel like you’re floating on air? Like everything is going your way? But you try to remain humble about it all? Because well, you know, Karma’s a bitch?

All we try to do is put out positivity, and hope it comes back to us. It typically works until God decides we left Earth for a little too long, and He doesn’t want us just floating any longer.

Everything was going great here! I mean we recently launched this blog to share our love for life, eats, and dogs. We got people interested in writing for our page. We gained followers in family, friends, and strangers.

And then, our bad luck curse hit…


Bad Luck #1

About four weeks ago, Joey was on his way home from a Houston Astros baseball game. Despite being a year to Houston, Joey hasn’t spent much time navigating downtown. Being a later workday than normal, Joey switched his brain to autopilot and followed the car in front of him turning left on a one-way downtown street. Unfortunately, Joey missed his red light, and side swiped a car coming through the intersection on their green.

Thankfully, no one was injured. But “Big Red,” Joey’s 2003 Nissan X-Terra was totaled. And just for that, this day will forever live in infamy.

Joey takes full responsibility for this accident, but it meant we had to purchase a new car. Not knowing what our bad luck fate held, we opted to get Joey what he really wanted (and what was practical for us), since he had been driving a 15-year-old car. “Big Red” had her learner’s permit for goodness sake! We ended up buying a 2017 Toyota 4Runner with 30k miles through Hertz Auto Sales. We were hoping to write a blog on our shopping experience with them, but our bad luck continued…


Bad Luck #2

As everyone knows by now, when it rains in Houston, it pours.

We feel so blessed to have survived Hurricane Harvey with no damage to the house we had only bought and moved into two months before the storm decided to camp itself over our town. We watched as water creeped about five feet from our house, and then quickly and luckily receded through the baby canals on our street. Although we were on an island for a week, we were so much better off than so many others.

We felt like we really needed to say that before we complained about our Bad Luck #2.

Since Melissa has lived here, Houston has had Memorial Day flooding and Tax Day flooding, which our little 1950s house has survived. However, most recently, during the Independence Day flooding (PSA – Dear Houston, you need to stop celebrating holidays with floods.), our 1950s home had endured too much.

As the rain came in sheets, and Fourth of July parades were canceled, we noticed our dining room ceiling showed a little leak, while our kitchen ceiling revealed a substantial leak. We were able to get to the leak in the dining room and put a bucket under the drip, but the leak dripping into the kitchen ceiling was unreachable. The water continued to spread across the room. Thankfully, Joey thought to poke holes where the water was sitting and moving to, which allowed the water to drain out of our ceiling.

What was supposed to be a day spent on the Big Green Egg was spent talking to our insurance company, inquiring with emergency roofing companies, and asking around for recommendations. Luckily, the rain subsided (and still hasn’t really returned since that day), which has allowed us to fix our roof and ceiling.

We thought this would be our last headache, but we had obviously forgotten about the bad luck curse, and the worst of our bad luck hit us very hard…


Bad Luck #3

One of our last posts was on Regal – about a small limp and a recent trip to the vet. We wish we had better news to tell you, but we’ll just spit it out: Regal tore his ACL and needs surgery.

<Insert picture of Melissa ugly sobbing.>

To make a long story longer, about three weeks ago, we noticed Regal, had a small limp. We took him to our vet, where he was put on an anti-inflammatory and advised to rest. We followed the vet’s directions, but Melissa left town for a trip. When she came home a few days later, Regal was so excited to see his mom that he over exerted himself, and all of a sudden lost all mobility in one of his hind legs!

We immediately rushed him to have X-Rays done, and we were referred to an orthopedic surgeon. The orthopedic surgeon said Regal had fully torn his ACL, and he was recommending TPLO surgery. TPLO, or tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy, is a surgery performed on dogs to stabilize the stifle joint after ruptures of the cranial cruciate ligament (ACL). Although there are other surgical options other than a TPLO that are less expensive, for a young active dog like Regal, a TPLO is usually the gold standard treatment with quickest return to normal function.

For those of you who don’t know him, Regal is happiest when he’s running through the dog park, chasing balls across the yard, swimming in the lake, rolling in the grass, and sprawled across the couch with his head in your lap. Without this surgery, Regal may never get to experience his favorite things in the same way again. And that breaks our heart.

Regal at the orthopedic surgeon’s office being a champ.

This leads us to an ask for help we never wanted to make, but feel like we have to, because every little bit helps…

Although we know there’s so many worthy causes out there to support, we’d love for you to consider supporting Regal and us through our GoFundMe page. We feel silly even asking, because typically we’re asking you to support foster care and adoption, which makes a difference for so many at-risk children. But as newlyweds with bad luck hitting them with the curse of threes, we’re left in a less than ideal financial situation.

We’ve decided to cancel our 1-year anniversary trip to pay for half of the $5,000 surgery, but we are hoping some generous friends, family members, and strangers will help to pitch in for Regal and for us. Every little bit helps!

We won’t ask anymore than this, but please consider donating to our page here. Thanks for considering!


In Summary

The saying is true… Bad luck does come in threes.

And although that bad luck caused our wallets to be empty, our glasses are still very full. As newlyweds out to conquer the world, we are grateful to have each other, you, and this platform to share our lives. We promise there is a lot less complaining to come, more Big Green Egg recipes, and updates on our champ, Regal.

Love,

Melissa & Joey

dogs

Our Dog Thinks He’s Human

Now that we’ve introduced you to Regal a little bit, we can talk about why he thinks he’s a human. We typically compare him to a toddler. So, yes, he is our furchild. Get over it. It’s a DINK way of life. Either way, we promise you’ll get a kick out of these photos, which best depict it all.


1. He uses pillows like a human.

Whether it’s on the couch or in our bed, you can find his head resting on a pillow (when he’s not sitting like a human – See #2).


2. He sits like a human.

The pictures will speak for themselves, but we wanted to tell you how great of a road trip companion Regal is! On long trips, he will typically lay down and go to sleep, but on short trips, he sits up like a human in the back seat. You can also sometimes find him watching the television.


3. When we go to the dog park, he greets all the humans.

Regal absolutely loves going to the dog park. He will wear himself out on the car ride over from excitement. But when we get there, he could care less about the dogs. At the dog park, he gets to interact with his kind, the humans. He puts on his biggest smile, and trots up to every human he sees. Most of them reinforce his behavior and give him pets, so we don’t blame him for caring less about the dogs. We think if Regal could describe the dog park in 10 words or less he would say, “It’s for playing with my humans and meeting new ones.”

IMG_2576
Regal at the dog park – as far away from other dogs as possible.

4. When he’s scared, he hides.

Just as a toddler would hide under their comforter, Regal hides under the bed. He thinks if you can’t see him, he’s safe. His other favorite hiding spot is the bathtub, in which he scares many of our house guests!


5. He doesn’t like to eat his vegetables.

We have saved the best reasoning for last! This is probably our favorite story of Regal, because it’s how we can best show you his human qualities. While grilling bone-in steaks on the Big Green Egg and roast some broccoli in the oven. When we sat down for dinner, we tossed Regal a few fatty pieces from the steak. When we tried to slip in a piece of broccoli, Regal spit it out, and growled at us. (Spoiled brat, we know.) Melissa scolded him, “You can’t have any more steak until you eat that broccoli.” Regal shoulders slumped, his tail tucked between his legs, and he retreated to the bathtub. He didn’t reappear until dinner was done and cleaned up. It definitely felt like we were dealing with a toddler!


What do you think? Dog or human?

IMG_3072

We don’t care either way! I mean how could you not love this sweet face? Even it reflects dissociative identity disorder?

I’m sure this won’t be our only post on this topic, but we’re glad we could give you at least five reasons how Regal has taken on human-like qualities.

What does your dog do that makes you question his or her species?

Let us know!