eats, life

Van Life: Reaction Video

Yesterday we posted about our friends, Courtney and Bryce, who are traveling the United States in their van. They recently posted a video of the meals they eat during a typical day on the road. To celebrate (and lovingly mock) them, we thought it would be fun to replicate their meals in our full-sized kitchen and document our reactions in this 9-minute video. Enjoy! (Because you probably won’t get many more of these.)

We made oatmeal, chickpea salad sandwiches, and peanut butter stir fry! You can find more details about those recipes here, as well as see the full video from Courtney and Bryce, which gives you a better idea of how to make them.

What we learned from making their meals:

  • There are delicious plant-based recipes out there you can make and love to eat. (This may sound blasphemous, but not everything has to be made on the Big Green Egg.)
  • It’s hard to make yourself vulnerable to an audience on camera.
  • Documenting your life on camera is consuming, so it’s important to take moments to just enjoy what you’ve created.
  • We don’t live a cool, van life, so we have the time to make reaction videos to our friends’ lives, apparently.
  • Our friends are adorable and funny, and we love them for putting up with us (and this video).
  • Oatmeal doesn’t fill you up. But peaches on your oatmeal are by far the best fruit to put on your oatmeal. (Tehehehe.)
  • You can make the chickpea salad sandwich your own by swapping out ingredients, as Courtney mentions in their video. Melissa suggests swapping tomatoes for grapes!
  • Make the peanut butter stir fry with just a half bag of rice noodles for more saucy and veggie goodness! Also, dabbing Sriracha or sprinkling some cracked red pepper could add a little spicy kick.
  • Two people can eat on $22/day and have leftovers to spare.
  • We are incredibly proud of our friends, Courtney and Bryce, deeply respect what they have been able to accomplish in the last five months on the road, and look forward to seeing what else is in store for them!

$22/day for 6 meals = $3.68/meal

We went to KROGER to buy all the ingredients to make these meals, and it cost us a whopping $22, and we even had leftovers! We think that’s amazing. Courtney and Bryce get a lot of questions about how they afford to take a trip like this. It’s because they make sacrifices all the time by 1) making everything themselves even when it means the inconveniences of doing dishes at a campsite, and 2) not spending money on going out to eat along their trip. We’re not sure that’s something we could do!

The last thing we want to point out is that their meals are healthy. Yes, they have a lot more carbs than we’re used to, but because they are healthier grains, we burned through them fast – especially on a VERY hot Houston day. Typically, people make excuses for not eating healthy. “It’s too expensive or too hard to cook.” But their videos  prove healthy meals can be affordable and easy (especially if you’re not living in a van).


Dear Courtney and Bryce,

Thanks for being such an inspiration! We are literally telling everyone we know to SUBSCRIBE to your page. We love you!

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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!

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“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.

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life

Tampa Family Beach Vacation 2018

Two weeks ago, in early August, we traveled to Tampa to spend some time with the Daigneault family. Here’s what we did:


Saturday, August 4, 2018:

We picked up Melissa’s Nana and her boyfriend, Jerry, and went to Tampa’s famous La Teresita for a Cuban breakfast. We sat in the cafeteria, and made sure to get our cafe con leche with buttered and pressed Cuban bread. The best part about this is dipping your bread in your coffee!

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Next, we went and saw Joey’s parents at the new Pach’s Place location inside the Tahitian Inn. Pach’s original location recently closed, and it was a favorite of The Neeley Family. Everything here looked great, but we were too full from our first breakfast, so we just got more coffee.

Next, we hit the road to Madeira Beach! Our condo wasn’t quite ready, so we killed some time at John’s Pass. We were still full from breakfast, but Melissa’s parents wanted lunch, so we stopped in Beach Bites Cafe, where they ordered specialty hot dogs.

After lunch, the condo was ready. We found a great one on AirBnb. Check it out here. This was our view from our balcony:

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From there, we got a few nice hours on the beach before Melissa’s sister, Andrea, and her boyfriend, Jordan, arrived. We wrapped up our beach outing, and headed for dinner. For dinner, we went to Angry Pepper, where we both got fried shrimp baskets.

After dinner, we all went onto the balcony, where enjoyed our first sunset.

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Melissa Side Note: Here’s a fun one of Joey making a face while I was using him as a subject to show my mom how to use the portrait feature on her iPhone:

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Sunday, August 5, 2018:

On Sunday, we spent as much time at the beach as we could. We may have gotten a little burnt, but it was worth being able to soak up all that sun.

 

For dinner, we tried to go to VIP Lounge & Mexican Restaurant, which is a restaurant Melissa’s parents recently found on their last beach trip. However, Mother Nature decided it wasn’t the right night. The wait was an hour, and it started to storm. We tried to wait it out in our car, but VIP ended up losing power. We decided to leave and eat at the condo. We’re glad we did, because VIP’s power didn’t come back on for 2.5 hours.

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There was no sunset this night, but we stayed up playing Yahtzee and Rummy, while drinking my mom’s famous slush recipe, which you can find here.


Monday, August 6, 2018:

For breakfast, we decided we wanted to go to the Daigneault’s favorite breakfast place, The Frog Pond. Every summer, Melissa’s family would vacation at the beach. After checking out, they would walk on over to The Frog Pond. They’re known for their incredible omelettes.

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Melissa’s Krab & Cream Cheese Omelette

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After The Frog Pond, we spent a lot of time on the beach. We headed up a bit earlier than our family to work on some laundry. That way, we didn’t have to take home sandy clothes and wet bathing suits. Although our skin probably needed the break!

Next, we tried VIP Lounge & Mexican Restaurant again, and we made it inside!

 

It was delicious, even for us Texans who eat Mexican food on the reg! We went home to play more Yahtzee, and called it a night early. We had to wake up to catch a 6:25 a.m. flight on Tuesday morning.


Thanks for a great trip, Daigneault family!

life

Girls Trip: Los Angeles, CA

Melissa here. I’m three weeks overdue with this post, but I’m excited to tell you more about my mid-July trip to Los Angeles to visit one of my best friends, Heather! Heather and I have known each other since high school. We ran cross country together, and served on student council together. Most recently, she stood by Joey and me on our wedding day. We’ve had so many sleepovers I’ve lost count, but none of them compare to our most recent sleepover in LA.


Importance of Girls Trips

Have you seen the movie “Girls Trip” yet? It’s hysterical and reminds you of the important role your friends play in your life. Sometimes, you just need to get away with your girls and talk about girly things – like what types of face wash you’re using nowadays and what happened on your latest date.

Although my girls trip to LA didn’t have drama like the movie (Thank, God.), it did allow me to reconnect with one of my best friends. Heather and I haven’t lived in the same city since graduating high school in 2009. We catch up as often as we can, but nothing beats a long weekend exploring, beaching, dining, and lounging.


Exploring Los Angeles

Friday

My flight landed around 6:30 p.m. on Friday night. We headed straight to the Venice Beach area to see the sunset. As the temperatures dropped quickly to a chilly 68 degrees (don’t judge me), I forced us to retreat to Heather’s apartment in Marina del Rey. There, I was able to drop off my suitcase and put on a jacket. Then, we took a Lyft over to Abbott Kinney to eat at The Butcher’s Daughter. The wait was about 45 minutes, so we walked down to The Brig for drinks. Heather ordered a Mexican Mule, and I had my typical Gin and Tonic. When our table was ready at The Butcher’s Daughter, we settled in with a glass of their house red wine. Over great conversation, we enjoyed our vegetarian Carbonara and Risotto. Everything was delicious! After dinner, we went back to Heather’s and passed out. We wanted to conserve our energy for an unplanned busy Saturday.

Saturday

On Saturday morning, we heated up microwaveable breakfast sandwiches (don’t judge us) and got iced coffees from Dunkin’ Donuts. We were in a rush to get to the Griffith Observatory, so I could see the Hollywood sign for the first time. This was my first trip to Los Angeles, and I told Heather, “I don’t care what we do as long as we get to see the Hollywood sign.” After taking a million pictures in front of the sign alongside a million other tourists, we explored the observatory some more, and Heather showed me the LA neighborhoods from a cool vantage point.

After the Hollywood sign, we ventured over to Hermosa Beach, where we met up with some of Heather’s friends. Everyone was so nice and even shared their pizza with me after Heather and I skipped lunch to rush over to the beach. The weather was absolutely perfect – high of 75 with not a cloud in the sky. Even though the water was a bit too cold for me, it was incredible to dip my toes in the Pacific Ocean. It’s not something I get to do too often! We laid out for a few hours.

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After beaching, we headed to the Hermosa pier to eat. As a group, we all checked out The Baked Bear, which puts ice cream in between two cookies. Heather and I split our ice cream sandwich, and then split off from the group to get a real meal. I ordered a chicken sandwich and Heather ordered a burger from American Junkie off Hermosa Pier. The food was your typical bar food, but you couldn’t beat sitting on the pier while the sun sets in the distant.

After exploring Hermosa Beach, we relaxed at Heather’s apartment and called it another early night. Beaching ain’t easy.

Sunday

On Sunday morning, we woke up to go to brunch at The Misfit in Santa Monica. Another one of my bridesmaids and best friends, Meredith, was also in LA to visit her sister, Angela. (I promise we didn’t plan our overlap.) It was so fun watching my two worlds collide in Santa Monica. We had such a fun time eating way too much food. I ordered a Bloody Mary, salmon toast, and Brussels sprouts. (DID YOU KNOW THAT’S HOW BRUSSELS SPROUTS ARE SPELLED?) It was all so yummy!

From there, Heather and I ventured to the Santa Monica pier where we took a lot more photos. We decided we hadn’t eaten enough (not really, but the views were unbeatable), so we stopped in at Mariasol, where I had the best Piña Colada ever. There were also chips and salsa, which you can never turn down. Our seats overlooked the end of the pier, where there was an entertaining street singer. After a lot of uncomfortable staring, Heather and I both decided he was lip syncing. Nonetheless, his 1990’s/2000’s alternative covers were fun(ny).

For some reason, Heather and I were so tired. We ended up going back to Heather’s apartment to nap. We woke up just in time to eat dinner. Sunday was definitely our foodie day. For dinner, we headed to ROC at Playa Vista, where Heather’s roommate ordered everything for us. We had scallion pancakes, crab fried rice, soup dumplings, garlic green beans, and pork wraps. I doubt those are the Taiwanese titles of the dishes, but I never saw the menu and appreciate the nicknames. I left feeling so happily stuffed.

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After dinner, we stayed up and chatted for a while about so many topics. From foster care and adoption to discrimination. Again, we went to bed early, because my flight was out of LAX at 7:00 a.m. I was so sad for this trip to come to an end.


Thanks, Heather!

Thanks for generously hosting me for a long weekend in LA, Heather! I appreciate you playing tour guide, and not over scheduling our weekend. I loved our chats and just being able to relax on the beach. I can’t wait to do it again. Thanks for an amazing Girls Trip!

life

Maine Family Vacation 2018

A Post From Joey

Boothbay Harbor, Maine

This past June we took a trip with my sister and parents to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, which was also Melissa’s first trip to Maine! You might be thinking, “How was Maine picked for the family trip?” Well, this is where my parents went on their honeymoon and a place that our family would vacation to growing up, so it’s a special getaway for my family. Being from Florida, and now living in Texas, escaping to the northeast during the summer is also a very nice change in weather considering temperatures were knocking on the door at 100 degrees the day we left.

When we go to Maine, we typically stay in the Boothbay Harbor area. While we are there, we each have our favorite places and activities to explore, as well as adding new adventures to our memories. I decided to keep this simple and make a quick list of my  activities and places we ate at on this trip in hopes this could be a rough road map for anyone who might take the same adventure. Enjoy!

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Favorite Excursions/Activities


Favorite Eats & Treats


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Meet Joey

13239159_10154231323986289_8593389871700676034_n“All Risks, this is Joe” is how you will know me if you call during the work week.  I work for a wholesale commercial insurance broker here in Texas and I know that just went over about 97% of your heads or you just stopped reading.  If you want to know more about what I do, stay tuned for future posts because it’s a pretty cool job but I won’t try to explain it here.  As someone who can only sit still for about an hour max before I get antsy, you will most likely to find me doing something that involves working with my hands and outdoors. On the weekends I will be up early to enjoy what I call my “me time” which involves drinking coffee on the couch while reading a book or watching TV while mentally planning out my day/how I can end up cooking on the Big Green Egg.  My closest friends know me as being ambitious, loyal and very sassy/snarky, and I hope you get to experience some of that along this journey. Learn more about Joey here.