Shrimp Chorizo Tacos


I have been dreaming these tacos up for the past week- and last night, I decided to put the creation on my plate. Hands down, the best taco I’ve ever made.

Let’s Create…

Shrimp (I used about 10 frozen, uncooked shrimp without the shell)

Chorizo (8-16oz) + Taco Seasoning (see bottom)

1 onion

1 avacado

1 cup frozen corn, or cut off the cob

Tortilla shells (8-12)

Shredded mozerella

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Taco Seasoning for the Chorizo : 1 tbsp chili powder ; 1/4 tsp garlic powder; 1/4 tsp cayenne; 1/4 tsp dried oregano; 1/2 tsp paprika; 1.5 tsp ground cumin; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp black pepper (Make up extra & store in a mason jar) 

I sautéed the shrimp, squeezing fresh lime juice over them as they were near done (make sure to only cook them until they are no longer transparent/till the colors are a little more vibrant- Overcooking will lead to chewy shrimp). I cooked the chorizo in a sauté pan, and sautéed a chopped onion in olive oil in the pan next to it.

I seasoned the chorizo with my homemade taco seasoning (on the taco page of my blog). In the last sauté pan, I cooked the corn– adding a bit of water for it to cook.

Add the chorizo and shrimp together. It is your choice to keep the corn and onions seperate, or mix them in. I always use the assembly line method for tacos because different people prefer different ingredients.

In a small, lightly oiled pan, heat the shell for about 20 seconds on each side.
The taco assembly line:

Once your shell is warm, add in some shrimp chorizo mix. You will have to Stop yourself from filling your entire shell because it smells SO good! Next, add some onions in, then corn, then chunks of avacado, sprinkle with mozerella and fresh cilantro. Enjoy and repeat! Happy eating 🙂

Remember the chips and salsa/ fresh guac on the side!!

 

Avocado Salad — Quick & Healthy Lunch Recipe!

Because Avocados Make life taste better.

I renamed this salad “Avocado Salad” because for some reason, I am very turned off by the words “Egg Salad”. This salad does not resemble OR taste like egg salad, however there are eggs in it. This is a great recipe to make for lunch, and is great for work environments that make it hard to heat food up.

1 Large Avocado 4 Hard Boiled Eggs (Cage free please!)

2 Tablespoons Plain Yogurt (Greek or Regular)

1 tsp Curry

s&p to taste

Mix everything together, and eat by the spoon or spread over toast 🙂

Enjoy and Remember to stay Healthy at work, even when your co-workers are tempting you with pizza, paninis and other take out options you will feel guilty about when on your mat for yoga that evening! #HealthyEats #CleanEating

Magical Tips to Disney World

bippity boppity boo!

Mouse ears, fairies, pirates & princesses. You have entered Fantasy Land of all young imaginations. Disney World is a place I believe every child should have the chance to go, however, there are many parents who dread being in this giant land of sparkles and never ending smiles. I personally loved Disney World growing up, and still love it today. Here are some Magical tips to get through Disney with your own munchkins….

Lodging

If finances allow, stay at one of the hotels on the Disney grounds. I have stayed both on the grounds and off- and thoroughly enjoyed both- but having access to hop on that monorail saves so much stress from not having to squeeze onto the crowded bus…with your stroller and children on  top of it. Plus, I was extremely fascinated by the monorail as a child – it’s like a ride in itself.

Trinkets

Everything at the park will be extremely over priced. It’s Disney. Every parent wants to make their child happy, which obviously means they are not saying no to a $25 pair of Mickey ears that will be worn once. Pick up Mickey/Minnie ears at home – on e-bay for $2.00 or even the Disney Store would be cheaper, try to find an autograph book (Or if you are crafty, make one- all you really need is blank pages for them to sign and you could have your children decorate the cover of a small notebook with markers or photos) ; bring a costume from home if your child is going to want to dress up (you know their personalities – I wore my Pocahontas shirt the entire trip). If your child is super into stuffed animals, consider buying some Disney characters at home as well and find a way to still make it special— 1) Pick one of the above “gifts” to give them when you tell them you are going to Disney. Wrap it, turn it into a scavenger hunt – make them guess that you are going to Disney. 2) Pack an item in your suit case without them noticing and pull it out once you get there.

Don’t forget to bring the small umbrella stroller if it fits into Disney’s permitted stroller dimensions…. those little legs get tired quickly in the big park!

Food

Disney will try and suck you in with a food package. Two things: 1- you will not utilize the food package to make it worth the money and 2-the food is very subpar. The best food value deal in the park? The Giant Turkey Legs at Animal Kingdom – and they taste Great.

Tip? Pack snacks – this is where that loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter come in handy. Some of the hotels have good restaurants, along with downtown Disney. Pack Kind bars, bring a homemade trail mix for energy and whatever snacks your family prefers to hold you over in between meals.

I would suggest having a character breakfast on main street (make reservations way in advance) (some hotels also offer them- Such as the Polynesian), but the one on Main Street is by far the best I have encountered.

Having lunch with Cinderella inside her castle was fun and definitely memorable (if you are traveling only with little princesses’, definitely do it), but the time spent with Cinderella is limited.

The Parks 

The Magic Kingdom : Plan on spending a full day here (Get there early, take a nap mid day if you have really little ones, and head back in the evening when the heat passes). Spend 2 days here if you are planning on missing half the day due to naps – there’s plenty to do between the tea cups, dumbo, splash mountain and more!

Epcot : Epcot is wonderful for adults and older kids. I went to Epcot when I was in high school and loved visiting all the countries. I had little interest in Epcot when I was 6 and 9 (there are a few rides, but very limited compared to the other parks). Make sure to check out the ride “Soaring”!

MGM/Hollywood Studios: The Hollywood Tower of Terror is a must if traveling with slightly older kids. This park also offers plenty of activities for younger kids — You will not need more than a day here, and this is a great park to split the day with hanging out at the hotel pool/relaxing.

Animal Kingdom: Animal Kingdom is great for all ages. I definitely recommend this park, and don’t forget to take the safari ride!

Blizzard Beach: Spend a day here if looking to escape from the typical theme park scene. There are awesome pools for all ages, water slides and lots of splashing.

Sea World: I am very opinionated on Sea World. We’ve all seen, or at least heard, about Blackfish — so why would we continue to pay money to enter the park, reinforcing demand? I am a huge believer on treating animals with respect – after all, we are keeping them captive from their native grounds- and making sure their quality of life is not being affected for the purpose of entertaining humans and providing them with pictures. Before I visit any site housing live animals, I always do research to make sure the animals are in a safe haven- I mean, why would I support a cause I am extremely against? If you want to feed sting rays, head to Grand Cayman and feed the friendly sting rays in the middle of the ocean.

Downtown Disney: Lego Land, Disney Quest — You could easily spend a few hours here, if not a day. There is plenty to do here, whether you head here during the evening hours or spend an afternoon here.

The Harry Potter World was built the year after I last went, but I encourage everyone to check it out!! It looks amazing!

There are a lot of shows you can attend (the Hoop de Doo (not my favorite but my aunt still loves it after seeing it 12+ times), Cirque Du Soleil (I really enjoyed this) and many more. If shows are your thing, definitely check them out — just remember to plan accordingly and factor in how tired you and/or the little ones will be that evening.

The firework show at the end of the evening is definitely worth staying for or returning to the park to see. Tink makes a pretty specially appearance 🙂

Enjoy the Magic!

6 Family Friendly Spots for All Ages (U.S. Based)

U.S. Vacation spots for Families of all ages 🙂 

Deerfield Beach

Deerfield Beach

boca2

Where will you be heading this year? Traveling with a significant other, children, maybe even grand children? Here are a few spots I have personally traveled to that make great getaways for all ages 🙂 I tried to list spots on both sides of the U.S. since I am centrally located in Chicago.

1) Florida Keys / Dry Tortugas 

I grew up going to the Florida Keys every March/April. There is so much to do- it’s a romantic spot for couples, there’s adventure for the soul seeker, and lots of child friendly activities. While the summer months are known for having more rain, the prices do drop significantly. Typically the rain is heaviest in June/July/August and August technically begins hurricane season (I would not let this stop you from going- instead, appreciate the price drops!), BUT I would aim for this spot between Early March-Late May if possible.

We typically stayed on Marathon or Islamorada because my father  went on daily fishing charters. Islamorada is known for the historic Bud n’ Mary’s Fishing Marina. The Dolphin Research Center – Make reservations in advance – is located on Marathon. You will drive across the 7 mile bridge to get to Key West, but if you are staying on Marathon or Islamorada I suggest walking on it at night when locals are out fishing…(you may get a close up of a shark!)

Schedule in …

There are plenty of state parks down the coast of the islands with wonderful snorkeling and easy beach access to reefs. I began snorkeling when I was around 5, so it’s fit for all ages- you just decide how far out you want to go.

** Many hotels also rent small motor boats to snorkel or fish from near the hotel.

While the snorkeling is great here, most of the beaches are smaller – it’s very different than southern Cali / Miami with the wide sandy beach that typically contain a bike path.  The majority of the hotels in the Florida Keys will have pools which is convenient.

The deep sea fishing is some of the best- look into what is in season during the month you’ll be vacationing and there are plenty of boats to charter — book in advance if traveling during spring break season!

Take a day trip to the Dry Tortugas – a 19th century fort surrounded by Crystal blue water about 70 miles west of Key West. There are tour companies that will take you there and back for the day, giving you the leisure to do as you please while you are on the island. Explore the grounds of the fort (your children can not escape 🙂 ), snorkel the clear blue waters and relax at the beach. This is an awesome spot for children and adults. The boat trip can be a bit rough, especially after being in the sun all day, so bring medication if you are prone to sea sickness. ** I spent Easter here when I was 9 – they set up a giant Easter Egg Hunt all over the fort, and I had a blast

My family always took day trips to Key West (I personally would stay on Key West if I head back on my own and recommend staying there as well). There is SO much to do- I never wanted to head back to the northern islands! Rent bikes or scooters to explore the island or hop on the Conch Tour Train if walking around all day is not your thing (or if you prefer to hear the island’s history), sign up for a day/half day water activity- enjoy banana boating, parasailing, jet skiing and more; visit the Hemmingway house or grab a bite to eat/drink at Sloppy joes; visit the southern most point-after all, you are 90 miles from Cuba! Dine at Sloppy Joes, shop at the outdoor markets, have your hair braided or wrapped & enjoy some Conch fritters. Remember to allow time to just sit back and relax/swim at your hotel or the beach!

Nighttime? There are plenty of bars to grab drinks at and check out Mallory Square for some outdoor fire breathing night time entertainment.

** Pack Sunscreen! Out of all my travels around the world, this is the ONLY spot I continue to get sun poisoning – every. single. time. (while wearing a minimum of 30spf)

Make sure to visit the Kinos Sandal factory- their address can be found on their website at this link : http://www.kinosandals.com/

2) Southern California  

Southern California is always a winner. The relaxed beach town vibe just can’t be beat. Escape from the traffic of LA to the beaches and you’re in another world. The Beach House in Hermosa Beach is an awesome beach front hotel for families and couples. The town offers plenty to do- with shopping, restaurants, the beach and neighboring towns (spend a day in Manhattan beach,  drive up to Santa Monica or head south)

3) Boca / Deerfield Beach 

Boca Raton / Deerfield is a great weekend getaway for couples and families. The beach is beautiful, there are fun beach side restaurants, board rentals, nearby shopping and more. We stayed at the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort, which had great beach access. This is a perfect 3-4 day February I can’t take the snow anymore, does sunshine still exist spot.

3) Atlantis, Bahamas

Taking a trip to Atlantis on Nassau is definitely worth the hype. Swimming in a water slide surrounded by sharks?  Casinos? Atlantis has it all- multiple pools, adult and teen clubs, casinos, shark feedings for the nature lovers, restaurants, pool side entertainment, a huge aquarium and a nearby shopping market on the island of Nassau that is definitely worth visiting (locals selling homemade crafts). The planning is basically all taken care of within the hotels offered activities. While I definitely suggest taking the ***Family*** to Atlantis (I went as a teen and loved it- I would not head back until I have kids of my own), the price builds up within the “hotel amenities”

Here are a few saving tips in case you want to travel on a budget….

– Cheaper hotels nearby sometimes offer package deals with access/use of the Atlantis property.

– Bring Snacks/Head to one of the little grocery stores (the least tourist looking the better) and pick up water and other food (depending on if you have a fridge) . Everything at Atlantis is very pricey — A bottle of H20 was $6 when lying by the pool.

4) Hawaii

Hawaii is home to wonderful people and an absolutely breathtaking island. I traveled here for a week with my mother as my 8th grad graduation gift.

We stayed at the Westin on Kaanapali Beach- The resort is filled with multiple pools- including water slides, jacuzzis inside man-built caves & a section primarily for adults. The beach front is breathtaking – beautiful sandy beaches, warm, blue water- I could have stayed in the ocean all day! The resort also provided various activities- my mom and I took a lei making class, I attended a few teen nights (which were really fun), and they had many other free structured activities. There are plenty of restaurants and shopping right outside the hotel (literally a 3 minute walk– and many of the restaurants have sand floors since they are located on the beach).

What to do while there?

There is SO much to do in Maui- my biggest advice is to think about what interests you most ahead of time so you do not fall into one of the “travel agent spiels” where they have you meet at a hotel and lure you in with free breakfast and special deals- yku end up spending half your morning inside some hotel banquet room and miss out on a lot of sunshine. It’s so easy to book with companies that have great reviews on tripadvisor and not have to do any plannig while there.

– Make sure you allow AT LEAST 1 full day just to soak up the beach and pool.

– take surf lessons (it’s about a 10 minute drive south towards Lahina and there are plenty of companies offering lessons. They basically all take you out in the same spot)

– Take a boat trip out to Molokini, the crescent shaped sunken volcano. The boat takes you to snorkel inside the crescent, and then to another spot to snorkel with giant sea turtles happily swimminf out in the ocean.

– take a day trip to Hana. You will have to wake up extremely early to make the sunset, but it is SO worth it! We went with a tour company that drove us to Hana, took us to visit the black sand beaches and then we flew part of the way back in a helicopter- flying along the coast and swooping down near the waterfalls. The views were incredible.

– take a day trip to Oahu to visit Pearl Harbor, the UsS arizona and Waikiki beach.

– have dinner at a luau one evening…enjoy traditional food like poi and watch the entertaining hula dancers. Be prepared, they bring a lot of kids and pretty ladies on stage!

**This trip is great for all ages!!

– Next time? I’m heading back to Kauai and taking the helicopter tour among the Napali Coast

5) Mexico 

Grab your sombrero and bikini! I spent a week in Cancun Mexico when I was 13- with all of my younger cousins, aunt & uncle. Children in Cancun?! Like any other destination, places with notorious college spring breakers gain negative reputations as family spots- but that reputation does not hold true year long. We had a wonderful, relaxing family vacation in this scenic oasis- the ocean has warm crystal clear water, lots of lush sand and plenty of sunshine. The resorts are filled with pools and night time entertainment (from karaoke to bands to trolleys to outside bars/clubs). Staying at an all inclusive resort in Mexico provides your family with a stress and hassle free week- the drinks and food are all at your hand- you literally don’t even have to get out of the pool. These resorts offer various restaurants to choose from- from fancy upscale dining to poolside tacos.

We left the resort one day to rent Jet skis at a nearby facility, which was a blast and they had other activities (parasailing, etc) as well. Most hotels also rent snorkeling equipment, boogie boards, etc. Now, all you need is that margarita you just ordered, while floating in the warm pool with the sun shining down on you 🙂

I loved this trip as a teen because the hotels are very large, providing space to explore (but not leave the grounds), there were plenty of activities that included those under 21 and there were tons of other teens to hang out with.

I recently spend a week in Tulum as an adult, and would highly suggest visiting – with or without children. Check out my post on Tulum for more info 🙂

6) Disney World

The Summer is a great time to head to Disney if you have kids you can not pull out of school during the school year, or want to save on peak prices. The lines are shorter in the summer, and dealing with the heat and humidity and potential rain throughout the day (typically comes and goes) is not as bad as it sounds when you schedule in an afternoon swim/nap in between all the Disney hopping.  Check out my Disney Post on more Disney tips!

Happy & Safe Travels!!!!!  Unfortunately a few of these trips were before the days of my nice digital camera, so many of my photos have been scrapbooked and no longer have files.